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As Part of Ongoing Preparations for COVID-19, Mayor Durkan Issues Proclamation of Civil Emergency in the City of Seattle

Proclamation Grants Mayor Ability to Use Emergency Authority to Address Immediate Dangers to Public Health

Seattle (March 3, 2020) – Similar to King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has issued a Proclamation of Civil Emergency granting her the ability to exercise emergency authority to address any immediate dangers to the public as a result of COVID-19. In the coming days, the City will announce actions stemming from this proclamation, which will be made in coordination with Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County, the Washington State Department of Health, and other elected leaders.

The Proclamation is part of the City of Seattle’s ongoing work to effectively support Public Health – Seattle & King County and coordinate and execute the necessary work to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Since January, the City of Seattle has been preparing and planning for COVID-19. This weekend, the Mayor issued a Directive to her Cabinet to formalize a series of ongoing actions within the City’s scope to respond to COVID-19. Among several actions, the Directive asks City departments to reiterate employee guidance on safety and best practices, prioritizes City efforts on behalf of our vulnerable populations including individuals experiencing homelessness, and ensures proper communications to our immigrant communities, including our non-English speaking populations.

“After consulting with local and statewide health officials, members of my Cabinet, and other elected leaders, I have taken the precautionary measure of issuing a Proclamation of Civil Emergency in Seattle. Because this is an evolving situation, we will continue to work in partnership with County and state officials to meet the immediate needs of our communities, especially vulnerable individuals and individuals experiencing homelessness. As we prepare to take additional steps in Seattle, we know that our City will need additional resources and help from both our state and federal government. For example, we are looking to our partners to increase the availability of testing in a way that does not overwhelm the health care system, but meets the growing need,” said Mayor Durkan. “We also need members of the public to be our partner in these efforts. Practice good hygiene, make a plan for yourself and your loved ones, and reach out to your neighbor to offer assistance.”

The Proclamation of Civil Emergency grants the Mayor emergency authority to take measures to address imminent threats to public health and safety caused by COVID-19. Actions authorized in the Proclamation include the ability to bypass regulations and the steps normally required of City contracting and borrowing; the ability to forgo regulatory permits in order to site or implement facilities needed to address COVID-19, and the ability to immediately adjust the use and closure of City facilities and events as necessary to prevent continued spread of COVID-19.

The City has also activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) beginning at 9 a.m. on March 2. The EOC develops and maintains situational awareness of COVID-19 impacts through tracking employee absenteeism, 9-1-1 call volume, and other activities as determined by the Office of Emergency Management. Starting at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, the EOC will provide consistent, accurate public information and messaging to City employees and all community members and in multiple languages, maintain essential City services, and monitor and coordinate emergency response.

The Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle & King County continue to update the public on confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County. As of 11 a.m. on March 3, there are 21 cases of COVID-19 in King County, including eight deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington Department of Health, and Public Health – Seattle & King County have issued specific guidance to help community and businesses prepare. Residents can find guidance for the general public, schools, workplaces and employers, travelers and health care professionals as well as a more detailed Q&A here

All residents and those who work or travel through the City of Seattle can sign up for Alert Seattle, the official emergency notification system. Alert Seattle will send real-time customized notifications via text, email, voice message or social media during emergencies including severe weather, safety, health, utility disruptions, major traffic incidents, and more.