City of Seattle, WA

07/01/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/30/2020 20:08

As Cases Double in King County Over the Last Two Weeks, City of Seattle Launches New Education and Outreach Team

City Reminds Symptomatic Individuals to Be Tested and Follow Public Health Guidelines on Isolation and Quarantine

During Holiday Weekend, City of Seattle Will Deploy Social Distancing Ambassadors & Pause on Reopening of Swimming Areas

SEATTLE (June 30, 2020) - Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced a series of new actions to combat the spread of COVID-19 as local public health officials brace for a rise in cases in King County. Today, Public Health - Seattle & King County noted a significant increase in cases over the previous two weeks. Anticipating an increase in gatherings at City facilities and restaurants over the holidays, the City is reminding residents of ongoing closures and social distancing recommendations. In addition, the City is reminding small businesses of Phase 2 expectations and encouraging residents who are exhibiting symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to get tested at one of two free Citywide COVID-19 testing clinics.

'Seattle cases have dramatically spiked to similar levels as when we entered the Stay Home order. We all need to do our part to safely social distance. Each of us has the power to keep ourselves and our community healthy, and the City will continue to focus our efforts on educating our residents and businesses on how we can slow the spread of COVID-19. Across the country, we are seeing a stark increase in cases in communities, and just today, California announced reinstating components of their Stay Home order. The last thing we want to do is find ourselves in a similar position and go backwards when so many have already scarified so much,' said Mayor Durkan. 'Thanks to the work of City Departments, UW Medicine, and Public Health - Seattle & King County, two City-run testing sites have tested thousands of residents thus far and are ready to test anyone who is experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed at no charge. Understanding who is positive for the virus helps public health mitigate against the spread and better understand who is most at risk. Let's stay vigilant and do our part.'

'The recent increase in COVID-19 cases is very concerning. Increasing cases and risk for acquiring COVID-19 in our community threatens the hard-earned progress we made during the stay-at-home order. This virus is as smart as ever and we need to be as well - the risk from COVID-19 remains serious,' said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. 'Everyone, especially young adults, needs to double down on COVID-19 prevention in all aspects of our lives immediately, including in social, recreational, workplace and business settings to avoid a rebound in serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.'

Last week, the City launched information guides and toolkits for Phase 2 businesses:

  • Phase 2 Restaurant and Business Guidance: The City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development launched an in-depth information guide and toolkit. The reopening toolkits are not intended to provide public health guidance but are meant to distill information from the state and county and make reopening guidance more accessible. The toolkits provide critical information for small business owners, including a reopening checklist, resources to access Personal Protective Equipment and financial assistance, testing information, and rent and commercial lease assistance. Guidelines include the following:
    • Operate at no more than 50 percent of building occupancy or lower, as determined by the fire code;
    • Outdoor seating is permitted at 50 percent capacity;
    • All parties and tables must be 5 guests or less; and
    • Bar seating, buffets, and salad bars are not permitted.
  • Launching New Education and Outreach Team for Businesses Not in Compliance:
    The Department of Finance and Administrative Services' (FAS) Consumer Protection Division will lead education and outreach to businesses and restaurants that are reported to be out of compliance with the Governor's mandate to wear a facial covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces. Outreach to these businesses and restaurants will focus on education. Businesses that do not enforce the facial covering mandate can be reported to the City's Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489 (CITY). In the coming days, FAS will also be issuing a Director's Rule to give the Consumer Protection team enforcement authority over businesses that violate the mandate. Violation of the statewide order is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $100 fine. Businesses that routinely violate the order also face losing their City of Seattle business license.

While the City has allowed individuals to go to parks and dozens of miles of the City's 'Healthy Streets' , the City will be delaying the opening of swimming areas and reminds individuals at beaches, parks, and boat ramps to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The City will have its Social Distancing Ambassadors at the City's parks over the holiday weekend.

  • Continued Limited Access of Beaches and Parks: Since moving to Phase 1.5, Seattle Parks and Recreation has opened parks and beaches with limited access to some park amenities. The following remain closed: Play areas and playgrounds, adult fitness equipment, fire pits, wading pools and indoor/outdoor pools, spray parks, and community centers programs. For a full list of off-limit areas, you can view here. Popular parks will close early, at sunset, and parking restrictions will continue to help limit crowding. Additionally, the Seward Park and Green Lake loops will continue to be pedestrian only, and Green Lake will continue to be one-way.
  • Two-week Delay on Swimming Area Opening: Seattle Parks had previously announced a July 1 opening of Pritchard, Matthews, Madison, and Mount Baker beaches, in addition to the swim area at west Green Lake with limited hours. This will now be delayed for a minimum of two weeks as City officials and Public Health Seattle & King County continue to monitor transmission rates and case numbers.
  • Keep it Small + Simple (5 people from the same household maximum): Since moving to Phase 1.5 and through Phase 2, outdoor recreation and gatherings of up to five people outside the household are permitted. Social Distancing Ambassadors will still have a presence in parks to give daily reports on park usage, and to remind the public of the need to refrain from larger gatherings or pick-up games. While many of the closed amenities cannot be fully secured or locked, Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking the public to honor the closures as part of the community's collective response and individual responsibility to keep everyone safe.
  • Social Distancing Critical at Boat Ramps + Boats: Salt and freshwater boat ramps are open with critical social distancing guidelines. While the ramps will be open consistent with park hours, during busier times the boat ramps will be staffed with employees who manage traffic and will collect data on social distancing compliance and boat launch usage. Only vehicles with boat trailers will be allowed in ramp parking lots. Social distancing guidelines applicable for boat launches are as follows:
    • Stay home if you are sick, and wash your hands frequently;
    • Please give other boaters at least six feet of space at all times;
    • Launching boats should be done as quickly as possible, with little to no lingering in the launch parking lot;
    • Only go boating with those who live in your household; and
    • Refrain from linking up with other boats for gatherings/parties.

Although individuals who have insurance should first visit their primary care doctor, the City of Seattle is offering free testing for individuals:

  • Free City COVID-19 Testing: The City of Seattle launched FREE drive-up Citywide testing sites at two locations in north and south Seattle. For those who have insurance they should first visit their primary care doctor for testing. For those without insurance or who are not able to access testing via their doctor, please register at www.seattle.gov/covid-19-testing to reduce wait times. The Seattle Fire Department estimates pre-registration will allow the testing procedure to take fewer than 10 minutes per test. If you need ADA accommodations or walk-up testing, Public Health - Seattle & King County has sites across the City, you can find locations by visiting their website.