City of Seattle to Temporarily Close All Public-Facing Service Counters to Combat Spread of COVID-19

Wells Fargo Will Allow Individuals to Obtain Money Orders Free of Charge During Closure

SEATTLE (March 13, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has announced additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, March 16, City of Seattle public-facing counters will be closed to the public but will continue to be available through email and phone. The City expects to reopen counters Monday morning, March 23 with new public health protocols, but will continue to evaluate this timeline as the outbreak evolves in accordance with public health guidance.

“We’re temporarily closing our customer-facing counters so we can keep our workforce, and members of the public, safe and healthy,” said Mayor Durkan. “We’ll do everything we can to ensure the disruption to customers is minimal during this temporary closure, including ensuring customers can reach these services via phone or email. Our customer-facing employees are some of the most dedicated and hardworking employees anywhere. We will continue to support them and prioritize their health and safety during this unprecedented time. Thank you to Wells Fargo for ensuring people can obtain money orders free of charge during this closure.”

To ensure minimal disruption to customers who traditionally make payments in cash, FAS has worked with the Mayor’s Office to coordinate assistance from Wells Fargo. Under the agreement, Wells Fargo will provide the option for both bank and non-bank customers to obtain a money order free of charge for up to $1,000 per person. Customers who need to make payments in cash can obtain a money order from any Wells Fargo branch in Western Washington. Money orders will be made payable to the City of Seattle and may either be mailed to the corresponding agency, or placed in the drop at any of the City’s seven customer service centers. Center locations can be found here: http://www.seattle.gov/customer-service-centers.

“These are uncertain times and we are all doing our part to step up and support our communities. There was no question for us as to whether we’d help when the City presented this idea to support its underbanked and underserved customers. This is the right thing to do and the last thing we want our communities to worry about right now is how they’re going to make a payment,” said Steve Hatfield, Wells Fargo region bank president

This announcement follows the State and County’s new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a prohibition of events with more than 250 people, and a prohibition on events with less than 250 people, if they don’t meet public health guidance on social distancing and hygiene.

Effective Monday morning, the following departments will close their public-facing counters: Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI), Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Police Department (SPD), and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

Finance and Administrative Services

Divisions in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) with public-facing counters that will temporarily be closed include: the City’s Customer Service Bureau, eight Customer Service Centers (including the Mobile Service Center), Seattle Animal Shelter, Treasury Services, Consumer Protection, License and Tax Administration and Purchasing and Contracting.

Most of the services provided by impacted divisions can be done online, via phone, mail or email, such as processing purchasing and contracting documents, distributing regulatory and businesses licenses and making utility and other City payments. While contractors are encouraged to submit their bids by mail, the bid counter in Purchasing and Contracting will remain open. 

Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light (SCL) will temporarily close the public walk-in areas at the North Service Center (1300 N 97th St., Seattle 98103) and South Service Center (3613 Fourth Ave. S., Seattle 98134). Also, for customers who pay their bills in person at any of the City’s seven customer service centers located throughout the city will temporarily not have that option.

While SCL will not be open to assist walk-in customers, the utility will continue to serve customers over the phone at 206-684-3000 or online at seattle.gov/light/paymybill. Customers can talk to a live person M-F, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. at 206-684-3000.

Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections

Divisions in the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) with public-facing counters that will temporarily be closed include: the Applicant Services Center, Public Resource Center, and 19th floor reception area.

The following services will no longer be available on an in-person basis:

  • Assistance with landlord or tenant issues, including RRIO registration
  • Permitting services, including side sewer, subject-to-field-inspection, and trade permits
  • Coaching for geotechnical, drainage, land use, zoning, tree removal/preservation/protection, permits, or project planning
  • Address changes or verification
  • Pre-submittal conferences
  • Zoning paid coaching appointments
  • Pay fees by cash or check
  • Determine your project development site
  • Research permit history
  • Submittal of final plats for recording

Customers should use these alternate options to conduct business with SDCI:

  • Use our online Q&A/Coaching services:
  • Conduct pre-submittal conferences online.
  • File questions or complaints on landlord and tenant assistance or other complaints online (www.seattle.gov/sdci) or call (206) 615-0808.
  • Visit our Side Sewer Permit webpage or email sidesewerinfo@seattle.gov for side sewer and drainage information.
  • Mail us payment by check. See How Do I Pay by Check for instructions and our mailing address.
  • Send us their building plans request (including the permit number and address for the project of interest) to SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov to request a copy of approved building plans associated with an issued permit. (For safety reasons, Homeland Security prohibits us from providing access to approved plans online without an individual request.)
  • Drop off final plats in the 19th floor lobby by the reception door.

Seattle Department of Transportation

Divisions in the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) with public-facing counters that will temporarily be closed include: the Street Use permit counter and Traffic and Parking permit counter, located on the 23rd and 37th floors of the Seattle Municipal Tower respectively.

Members of the public who need permits and the services provided by SDOT staff at the counters are asked to conduct their business by phone, online, or email. SDOT staff are available by telephone to provide Street Use permit application coaching at 206-684-5253 and traffic and parking permit customer service at 206-684-5086.

For construction use in the right-of-way and street improvement permits, customers can e-mail completed applications to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov. For major utility permits, please e-mail your completed application to SDOTUtilPermits@Seattle.gov and be sure to use the subject line: “Permit#_ProjAddress – UMP New Application / Modification Application.” For all other permits, please apply online through the Seattle Services Portal at cosaccela.seattle.gov.

Additional resources are available online at www.seattle.gov/transportation/permits-and-services/permits

Seattle Police Department

Divisions in the Seattle Police Department (SPD) with public-facing counters that will temporarily be closed include: all police headquarter counter services.

You can request police reports and collision reports at: 

  • Email SPDRequest@seattle.gov
  • Fax (206) 684-5240
  • Mail – SPD Public Request Unit, 610 5th Ave. PO Box 34986, Seattle WA 98124

You can request a clearance letter by mail at: SPD Public Request Unit, 610 5th Ave. PO Box 34986, Seattle WA 98124. 

Seattle Public Utilities

City of Seattle to Temporarily Close All Public-Facing Service Counters to Combat Spread of COVID-19
Divisions in Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) with public-facing counters that will temporarily be closed include: engineering records vault and walk up window, both located at 700 5th Avenue. Customers can call 206-684-3000 for assistance or visit seattle.gov/utilities. Other SPU public-facing facility closures include Transfer Station viewing rooms, the Cedar River Watershed Education Center in North Bend, and Development Services Office Walk-in Service Center.