Where is there left to go outdoors? Where’s my government check and what about that asteroid?


Q: With all the public spaces that have been closed off over the past few days, where is it still OK to go outdoors?

A: You’re right about things shutting down. State campgrounds are closed. State parks are closed. Washington Department of Natural Resources trails are closing.

At the moment you can still pick between your backyard, deck and patio.

Just kidding. For now.

But seriously, city parks are still open (except the playground equipment), as are most PUD parks (except the playground equipment) and the Apple Capital Loop Trail.

The Sage Hills trail system in the Wenatchee foothills opened today, a week ahead of schedule. Horse Lake and Burch mountain seasonal roads closures are still in place until April 1.

That’s as of this afternoon. And observing social distancing remains important whether you’re indoors or out.

Most national parks are still open but that could change at any moment. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks have been closed and more seem likely to follow.

In recent days, many national parks have shut off certain services like visitor centers and access points. So, stay tuned.

The U.S. Forest Service hasn’t announced any closures … yet.

Backyard. Deck. Patio. Still good to go.

Q: Where’s my government check?

A: It seems like you’ve asked this before. That’s still being hammered out in Congress. The Senate seemed ready to pass a $2 trillion relief bill but some Republican senators are now balking, claiming unemployment payments under the bipartisan agreement would pay people more for being unemployed than they were earning.

But blah, blah, blah. Where’s that check?

OK, the deal still seems likely to pass the Senate today. The House will pass it tomorrow, unless a representative or more decides to hold it up by refusing a remote vote. (Most of them are back home now and will need to return to D.C. if that happens).

Anyway, here’s where it stands:

Single Americans receive $1,200.

Married couples receive $2,400.

Parents receive $500 for each child.

But, if you earn more than $75,000 you receive less and if you earn more than $99,000 you get nothing.

That’s individual, not household income. So if a husband earns $50,000 and the wife $74,000 they still get the $2,400 because neither makes more than $75,000.

Q: When do I get the check?

A: Wow, you really want that check. After the bill is signed by President Trump it’s estimated your check will take three weeks to arrive. If you have direct deposit with the IRS, it will be much quicker.

Q: Is there more help if I’m recently unemployed?

A: Very much so. Jobless workers will receive $600 a week from the federal government for up to four months under the current bill. That’s on top of what they receive from the state.

Q: Was COVID-19 created to distract us from an asteroid approaching?

A: Fact-checking site Snopes.com actually addressed this rumor today. After saying “please stop,” they said this rumor has been around for years in various forms.

Earlier this month, NASA said an asteroid could pass within 4 million miles of Earth and a lot of people are citing that. But that’s a safe distance, NASA said.

Social media posts have ignored that and warn of doomsday.

False, says Snopes.