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With Surging Cases of COVID-19, City of Seattle Announces ‘Rock the Block’ Stay Healthy Blocks to Help Residents Stay Close to Home and Keep Moving on Election Day

 (October 30, 2020) – With surging cases of COVID-19, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced new Rock the Block Stay Healthy Blocks to help residents stay close to home and keep moving on Election Day. Rock the Block gives residents the opportunity to open up their street to people walking and rolling on Election Day to get outside and be with neighbors while maintaining a safe social distance. Rock the Block is for Tuesday, November 3, 2020 only and requires an online registration. If residents would like to extend their block closure, they can request a free permit that allows for additional dates up to November 30, 2020. 

To date, nearly 70 percent of Seattle residents have voted. Residents can return their ballot to a ballot drop box (no stamp required) and must do so by 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. Read more about returning your ballot

“Voting is one of our greatest rights and duties as Americans, and Election Day is an opportunity for us to shape the future of our communities. We’re in the midst of a global public health crisis and an election cycle that has perpetuated fear, anxiety, and uncertainty for so many of us, both here in Seattle and across our country. With Rock the Block, we wanted to facilitate ways for Seattle residents to be in community with their loved ones and neighbors in a way that’s safe, healthy, and respects the need for social distancing as cases are rising in King County,” said Mayor Durkan. “Rock the Block also gives neighborhoods the opportunity to test out a Stay Healthy Street without having to go through the permitting process. Seattle and King County have a long history of leading the country in safe and secure elections. We hope Rock the Block builds on that storied tradition. And to all Seattle residents: If you haven’t already, please vote!”

“During normal times, election night often means election result parties or gathering with friends and neighbors to discuss the future,” said Alex Pedersen who chairs the City’s Transportation Committee and serves as the District Councilmember for much of Northeast Seattle, Wallingford, and Eastlake. “Until we get past COVID-19, we must find safer ways to gather, and one way is through ‘Stay Healthy Blocks.’ Please be sure to vote and then look forward to election night in your own neighborhood by registering for your own Stay Healthy Block.”

Rock the Block can be accomplished in seven quick steps:

  1. If you haven’t already, vote! Rock the Block locations are not ballot boxes; you can find a full list of ballot boxes here.
  1. Make a plan to ensure your block aligns with SDOT’s criteria.
  2. Tell your neighbors and spread the word about your Rock the Block plan.
  3. Register online.
  4. Prepare to close your street by printing all necessary signs and securing barricades.
  5. Set up your street.
  6. Take down your barricades by 9 p.m., November 3.

Rock the Block allows residents who want to be with their loved ones and neighbors on Election Day the opportunity do so while remaining in compliance with Phase Two of the Governor’s Safe Start plan. Like all Stay Healthy Blocks, maintaining social distance and wearing a face covering is required. Rock the Block is available for non-arterial streets and streets will be open for people walking and rolling from 12 – 9 p.m. on Election Day. For a full list of requirements, please visit SDOT’s blog post.

Residents who would like to register their street must first make sure their block aligns with SDOT’s eligibility criteria and alert their neighbors. Residents can then register their street online and immediately set up their Rock the Block. Visit SDOT’s blog for more guidance on how to easily and safely set up your Rock the Block street closure.

“Throughout 2020, SDOT has been presented with unprecedented challenges, but also numerous opportunities to creatively rethink the ways we use our streets and sidewalks to make communities safer, more livable, and economically secure in the face of hardship. With Rock the Block, we’re building on our Stay Healthy Blocks to again present safe, innovative ways to safely experience community. Thousands of Seattleites have exercised their democratic right to vote and will continue doing so over the next few days,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “As we balance this historic moment with the challenges of COVID-19, we hope our free program for families and neighbors to close their block, get outdoors, and be active together at safe distances eases stress.”

SDOT’s Rock the Block program builds on the department’s Trick or Street Blocks, which will provide temporary, one-night street closures to residents to celebrate Halloween safely. To date, SDOT has permitted nearly 200 Trick or Street blocks. Read more about SDOT’s Stay Healthy Blocks, which support Seattle residents/groups to temporarily close blocks to through-traffic, in this blog and on SDOT’s website.

Residents looking to dine out on Election Day can visit one of the hundreds of Seattle restaurants using SDOT’s Street Use permits. SDOT has issued 151 free Street Use permits, including 11 blocks that have been opened for small businesses in neighborhoods across Seattle.

It’s also Seattle Restaurant Week, and residents planning to stay home and stay healthy during Election Day can order takeout or delivery from participating Seattle restaurants. Learn more here.