As the number of vaccinations increase and we learn of changing public health requirements, we wanted to provide a city update on summer activities, current staff policies, and what we know about reopening.
Many of you have heard the news of the CDC relaxing mask requirements for fully vaccinated Americans. As always, we encourage you to also follow current King and Snohomish County health departments for any local guidance. Governor Jay Inslee also recently announced a path to fully reopen our state by June 30th. This is an exciting time and is still more evidence that this pandemic is coming to its end.
What does this news mean for Bothell?
Parade and Pancake Breakfast & Other Summer Events
Despite the state reopening news, we’re saddened to announce that the 2021 4th of July Freedom Festival and Fire Department Pancake Breakfast are canceled for this summer.
While encouraged by the increase in vaccinations and some reopening guidelines from health officials, events of this scale still have requirements. Large-scale, outdoor community gatherings without designated access points and reserved seating require resources and staffing that our organization cannot provide at this time. Planning for these activities typically takes six to nine months, which proved difficult amidst changing guidelines.
In addition to Fourth of July festivities, we will be canceling Music in the Park, Just Kidding Around concert series, and Blyth Park Family Campouts. Parks Department employee reductions in 2020 mean we do not have the resources available to plan, produce, and staff these particular activities and events.
We recognize this is disappointing and want to reiterate that these decisions were not made lightly. The safety and wellbeing of our community, staff, and volunteers is our first priority.
Although some of our larger community events are canceled for this summer, we are excited to offer virtual and small-group events and activities this summer, including youth sports camps, volunteer work parties, a virtual Sustainamania scavenger hunt, and pop-up events from our Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Board. Check our website and stay tuned to our social media channels for details.
State - WA State has adopted masking guidance released by CDC, meaning fully vaccinated individuals can go without a mask in many situations.
King County - King County issued an updated local Directive on May 20th strongly urging all residents, fully vaccinated or not, to continue wearing face masks in indoor spaces open to the public. They also recommend that businesses who serve the public continue policies to ensure customers and employees wear masks indoors.
Snohomish County - Snohomish County Health District does not have plans to issue a masking directive for public indoor spaces, or to be more restrictive than the State, but endorses the principles underlying the intention of King County’s order.
Everyone 12 and older is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Both counties continue to encourage vaccinations and we know many of you are already fully vaccinated! Learn more about vaccines and appointments here:
Getting Vaccinated in King County
Getting Vaccinated in Snohomish County
Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers
King and Snohomish Counties are currently in Phase 3. Most indoor activities are permitted to operate at 50% capacity until June 30 when most public spaces will potentially return to full capacity. Learn more here
Bothell City Staff
First-responder, operations, and maintenance personnel continue to work on-site and in the field and many administrative personnel are successfully working remote. We have been very fortunate and most of our staff remain healthy, with few exposures. City staff safety, mask, and health screening policies remain the same for now. We are working with state and local health agencies to determine what our employer requirements are, as those are often different than requirements for individuals. Many of our staff are already fully vaccinated and are diligently following safety protocols, especially when interacting with the public.
The Washington state of emergency will not necessarily be lifted on June 30th and we are not exactly sure when public meetings can resume in-person, if there will be attendance limits, or when we will be allowed to fully reopen all city facilities. For now, our teams are moving forward and planning to fully reopen City Hall as soon as we are able. We are reimagining what city services look like post-Covid, having learned that many of you prefer convenient online services and the option to attend a meeting virtually. As soon as we learn more from the State and have firm timelines, we will let you know. Please note, the Records Section inside the police department will be open for fingerprinting of Concealed Pistol Licenses (City of Bothell residents only) every Tuesday from 11:00am-3:00pm, starting on June 1, 2021.
Although we may not be celebrating together in our typical Bothell fashion this summer, we encourage you to find some time to check out our parks and amenities and explore the beautiful backyard we call home. Throughout the pandemic, our remaining parks and recreation staff have worked tirelessly to keep over 400 acres of parks, trails, and green spaces open to support the physical and mental health of our community. As we enter this Memorial Day weekend, may we all remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives serving our country. Hope your summer is off to a safe and sunny start.
Erin Leonhart, Interim City Manager