Bellevue skyline. File photo

Bellevue skyline. File photo

Amid coronavirus concerns, Eastside cities are taking preventative steps

Most Eastside cities are following recommendations from county officials.

As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase globally, many are making precautious decisions to avoid infection, from more diligent hygienic care to event cancellation.

Eastside cities are for the most part operating as they would normally — with caution.

Below is a collection of what city-and community-related events are or aren’t being canceled and what practices cities and organizations, like local chambers of commerce, are abiding by as news of the virus evolves.

This article will be updated as more information about cancellations and precautions become available to the Reporter and Valley Record newspapers.

Bothell/Kenmore

The city of Bothell released a statement regarding coronavirus on Wednesday, March 4.

“City of Bothell staff continue to work closely with King County Public Health and Snohomish Health District to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronvavirus) outbreak,” the city of Bothell said in the statement. “City staff are meeting regularly to streamline communication and prepare for changing conditions here in our community. Our first responders are following a number of safety protocols including wearing appropriate protective equipment and taking extra care when entering homes and treating patients or interacting with community members. We are also doing public health outreach with our elderly and vulnerable communities.”

The Downtown Block D Open House, which is scheduled for March 10, has been canceled in Bothell. There is no confirmed new date as of the Reporter’s deadline. The March 10 city council meeting was also canceled.

As for Kenmore, city communications specialist Lauren Chomiak said the city is mostly doing “business as usual. On March 4, however, the March 5 business alliance meeting was canceled as a precaution.

A notable recent cancellation of an event was a Bothell-Kenmore Chamber-supported ribbon cutting at Woodland Terrace.

Chamber marketing manager Elizabeth Tackett confirmed that the Terrace event’s cancellation was not made at the request of the chamber, and that the chamber itself has not currently canceled or rescheduled anything else at this time.

“We are monitoring the situation closely, and we are having discussions every day,” Tackett said, adding, “We want to do what’s best for everyone.”

A representative from Woodland Terrace said the event was not canceled due to coronavirus precautions while noting that they were unable to share why the ribbon-cutting had been canceled.

Bellevue

Brad Harwood, the chief communications officer for Bellevue, said that the city has been making decisions based on the guidance from Public Health — Seattle & King County.

Harwood said Bellevue officials are continuing to monitor things closely.

“The situation is fluid and we’re prepared to reschedule events, if necessary,” Harwood said in an email.

He added in a voicemail that he hasn’t heard of any private events being canceled in the city, either.

On March 4, it was announced by the city that the March 11 planning commission meeting was canceled. The next meeting will be on March 25. It was subsequently confirmed that the March 5 environmental services commission and March 12 transportation commission meetings had been canceled.

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce confirmed that it has not canceled anything. A representative from the city’s downtown association shared that by Wednesday, March 4, more concrete decisions about cancellations will be made — specifically in regard to the association’s monthly breakfast event.

Kirkland

Kirkland, which is often referred to as the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States, has not canceled any city-sanctioned events as an effect of coronavirus. But Kirkland has, as confirmed by the city’s communications program manager Kellie Stickney, canceled a recent park board meeting.

Today, March 3, the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce sent out a press release regarding coronavirus concerns.

“With the continuing reports of additional coronavirus cases in Washington state, we are managing the needs of our members and our current event schedule,” CEO Samantha St. John said in the release. “We are most concerned with the health and safety of all our members and will take measures accordingly. The Kirkland chamber is following the guidelines from our leaders at EvergreenHealth, Seattle & King County Public Health, and the CDC.”

On Thursday, March 5, the chamber announced in a press release that it was canceling all March events. An April 4 gala fundraiser has been postponed to June 20.

“In the coming days, you will see the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce reach out to the broader business community to help during this difficult time,” St. John said in a press release. “We know this public health issue is particularly affecting our smaller businesses, and we are actively working on ways to help and support you.”

Mercer Island

Laurie Givan of the Mercer Island chamber said that the organization has no plans currently to cancel any events; a luncheon scheduled for Thursday (March 5) is still on, as is a breakfast gathering in Issaquah set for Friday (March 6).

On the city of Mercer Island’s website, it was confirmed that the March 10 utility board regular meeting was canceled.

On March 4, it was announced that the March 5 parks and recreation commission meetings are both canceled, as is the March 6 Friday Night Film event at Aljoya. The March 11 design commission meeting was canceled.

Representatives from the city of Mercer Island could not be reached in time for the Reporter’s deadline for more information.

Redmond

“We’re plugging along and being cautious and monitoring everything — I don’t want to jinx it,” Redmond police program coordinator Andrea Wolf-Buck said on March 3.

Wolf-Buck confirmed that the March Can Madness charity event scheduled for tomorrow (March 4) has been canceled. While she is currently assuming that it will eventually be rescheduled, Wolf-Buck was unable to confirm a new date as of the Reporter’s deadline.

The March 5 parks and trails commission meeting has been rescheduled for March 12.

On March 4, the city of Redmond updated its website to reflect current cancellations. They include a March 5 Senior Lunch Service at Bytes Cafe and Winter Whimsy at City Hall and Family Movie Night at Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village, both March 6.

Donna Bannister, the officer manager of OneRedmond (which functions as the city’s chamber of commerce), said that the organization is currently on the fence about canceling events as of March 3.

A March 19 Sip and Socialize event, for example, is likely to be (but has not officially been) postponed. Recent and upcoming OneRedmond meetings have been happening virtually rather than in person as a precautionary measure, Bannister said.

The Redmond Historical Society has canceled its March 9 speaking event, “Seattle’s First Railroad: The Seattle Coal & Transportation Company,” as a precaution. It has also canceled the March 14 speaking event “Washington on Wheels: Odd and Innovative Transportation Ideas from the Pacific Northwest.”

Issaquah

As of March 3, Issaquah communications coordinator Thomas Rush said the city of Issaquah is making decisions based on recommendations from Public Health — Seattle & King County. The cemetery board meeting for March 5 has been canceled.

Russell Mallory, communications coordinator for the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has not canceled anything because of the virus but there is a chance events will be canceled down the line.

Snoqualmie Valley

Joan Pliego, communications manager and public information officer for the city of Snoqualmie, said that while the city has not decided to cancel anything as of March 3, personnel are trying to be as cautious as possible.

“We’re trying to take a cautious approach…not create any panic in the area,” Pliego said. “We don’t have any sign of coronavirus in the Valley. So far, it’s business as usual.”

Kelly Coughlin of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce said in an email that the chamber so far has not canceled anything.

“We are having an event with six chambers Friday, so we will see what the turnout looks like,” Coughlin said. “We are getting a little nervous but praying the virus is contained so far.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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