The City of Bellingham's response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve in response to local conditions as well as statewide mandates from Gov. Jay Inslee. Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced today further changes to City services. Effective immediately, front counters that serve the public will be closed in the following departments:
- Fire Department
- Parks & Recreation Department
- Permit Center
- Police Department
- Public Works Department
Closing the front counter does not mean stopping the provision of services. Each department is posting signage for their customers alerting them of how they can contact the department to conduct City business remotely including telephone communication and online services. Contact information for each City department is also available on the City's website.
In addition to the statewide closure of all public schools for six weeks announced last Friday, today the Governor announced an emergency measure closing all bars and restaurants and further limiting group gatherings. The City of Bellingham also has closed several City facilities, such as the library, museum and park buildings, and many City employees are telecommuting from home or on standby.
“I'd like to take a moment to express my heartfelt thanks to all City employees who are still reporting to work every day to do all that we can to keep our community safe, clean and well during this outbreak," said Mayor Fleetwood. “While all City employees are vital, I recognize the dedication and hard work of those who are designated as essential during emergencies such as the current situation at hand."
The Mayor, Department Heads, Emergency Management and other City staff are all working closely to address City operational issues that arise during this unprecedented event. Operational issues addressed to date include facility closures to protect public health and safety and identifying changes that can be made to reduce risk to employees and the public while still providing essential services. Additionally, the City is participating in a Unified Command with Whatcom County and local Tribal leaders to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the entire county.
A Unified Command is an authority structure that brings together the leaders of all involved organizations to coordinate an effective action and response. This event has expanded to include more than concerns about public health. The Unified Command is setting up branches today to address the community's larger concerns including financial impacts to local businesses, financial impacts to workers who are temporarily unemployed, serving people who are experiencing homelessness, providing meals to children who are missing the school meal programs, childcare and more.
For more information
For up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Whatcom County, visit the Whatcom County Health Department's page at whatcomcounty.us/covid.
For the City of Bellingham's most current COVID-19 information, please visit the City's response page.