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Mayor's Daily COVID-19 Newsletter

With information regarding COVID-19 continually being updated, I’ve decided to publish this newsletter daily to share what we know with the residents of Renton. In each edition our team will bring you the latest updates from around the city as well as information from state and federal officials and agencies.


Issue: 12
Monday, March 30, 2020

Protect your mental health

I’ve spent editions of this newsletter explaining how the governor’s “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” order will affect our everyday life and included tips on how to best operate during this time of uncertainty.

I realize that each one of us will react differently when faced with such dramatic changes to our routine. If you find yourself struggling and need to talk to a professional, here are some resources to help.

  • CDC: Managing Anxiety and Stress during COVID-19

  • CDC: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event

  • SAMHSA: Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health

  • King County: Crisis Connections

  • Wash DoH: Social Distancing and Mental Health

  • Seattle Times: Community Support Resources

Additionally, there are also several recommended things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths and stretch, eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid excessive alcohol and drugs.

  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

It has been several weeks since we were all together working and living in our version of “normal.” Since then, COVID-19 has caused us to transition to a new form of normal. I am extremely proud to hear about the positive stories and successes in our city. In the coming days we look forward to sharing them with you.

Governor leaning towards extension of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy”

Gov. Inslee held a press conference earlier today in which he thanked the vast majority of residents who have stayed home under his “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” order. Although he had not made a final decision, the governor indicated it was very likely this order would be extended beyond two weeks. He emphasized that residents should not be making non-essential trips and should ask themselves “is this trip really necessary?”

The governor also outlined the steps the state would take against non-essential businesses that were continuing to operate. The steps include a verbal request to close, followed by a letter, and then citations and ultimately a suspension of the business license. Only as a last resort will the state take a business owner to court. Emphasis for these actions will rely with local jurisdictions. The state has set up an online form to report non-essential businesses that violate the order.

Starting this week we will be mailing this newsletter on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We will, however, continue to update the web version, as well as our COVID-19 resources page, daily and hope you will continue to visit them and utilize the resources offered.


Update on city functions. New/updated information is italicized.

City Hall

  • City Hall is closed to the public until further notice. Most services available via telephone and online.

  • CDC guidelines for screening employees have been implemented. Health screening questions will be asked.

  • Increased frequency for disinfecting common spaces, counters and door handles in all facilities throughout our hours of operation.

  • Created COVID-19 page with links to information and prevention.

  • Enacted a telework policy for eligible employees until further notice.

  • Enacted a prohibition on enforcement of city noise restrictions on vehicles.

  • COVID-19 link added to Renton Responds app.

  • The human resources department is adapting to changes and making decisions to be responsive to COVID-19. We're doing everything to ensure we keep our employees safe and healthy as we continue to serve our customers.

  • Mayor's Emergency Order #2020-3: Supporting State Moratorium On Residential Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent.

  • Don't forget to complete your 2020 Census.

  • Mayors urge residents to follow best practices.

  • March 23 - Mayor’s COVID-19 update to City Council Committee of the Whole.

  • March 24 - City's response to governor's order of "Stay Home, Stay Healthy"

City Council

  • The City Council will not meet on March 30 as it is a council holiday (fifth Monday of the month). Council will reconvene on Monday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

  • March 23 - City Council met via video conference both as Committee of the Whole (video) and in regular session (video). In person testimony was not taken at the meeting, but residents are encouraged to participate by submitting comments to cityclerk@rentonwa.gov or via mail to Renton City Hall, c/o City Clerk, 1055 S. Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057.

  • Subcommittee meetings are cancelled.

  • Meetings are live on Channel 21 in Renton and streamed online.

 Donations/Social Services/Healthcare

Economic Development

Facilities/Services

  • The following facilities are closed at least through April 24: Renton Community Center, Renton Senior Activity Center, Highlands Community Center, North Highlands Community Center and Renton History Museum.

  • Lunch program continues at Senior Activity Center. Seniors (50+) can drive through and pick up a sack lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • City Hall and the Public Works, Parks and Facilities shops are closed to the public until further notice.

Inspections

Community and Economic Development Department (CED) has been receiving questions from homeowners and contractors regarding how the city is interpreting the construction-related provisions of Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home-Stay Healthy Proclamation and related guidance issued by the Governor’s Office.

  • CED has interpreted the Stay Home-Stay Healthy order to deem new residential and commercial construction as non-essential activities, except that construction of public projects (such as public affordable housing projects) and public components of private projects (such as utilities and streets intended for turnover to the city) are essential activities. Furthermore, CED has interpreted the Stay Home-Stay Healthy order to allow construction related to the order’s list of essential activities including supply chain for goods, services, and healthcare.

  • Under these interpretations, CED will continue its physical inspections associated with the following city-issued permits:

    • Building permits for occupied residential structures necessary to avoid damage or unsafe conditions;

    • Building permits for buildings that are a necessary component of the community’s supply chain for goods, services, and healthcare;

    • Engineering permits for facilities intended to be made part of the city’s public infrastructure. Such facilities include water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater utilities intended to be transferred to the city at completion and street improvements intended to be transferred to the city at completion.

  • Although CED will not be performing physical onsite inspections for new unoccupied homes or other projects not falling into the above list, some inspections can be accomplished virtually. If you are interested in more information about virtual inspections, please contact the Building Division: 425-430-7202.

  • These interpretations are valid as of March 30, 2020 under the governor’s guidance in effect as of that date. Please note that these interpretations are subject to change as more information becomes available regarding the efforts to contain COVID-19 or if further guidance is issued by the governor’s office.

Mental Health Resources

  • CDC: Managing Anxiety and Stress during COVID-19

  • CDC: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event

  • SAMHSA: Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health

  • King County: Crisis Connections

  • Wash DoH: Social Distancing and Mental Health

  • Seattle Times: Community Support Resources

Online Payments

  • Business licenses, pet licenses, courts, tax and licensing and utility bills can all be paid online.

Permitting

  • Permit counter is closed to the public until further notice. Applicants should use online options for payments and tracking applications.

  • Fees and permitting waived for A-frame business signs advertising curbside pick-up.

  • Permitting (General information): 425-430-7200

  • Schedule an Inspection: Permitting Portal; Building: 425-430-7202; Civil/Site: 425-430-7203.

Public Works

  • The Maintenance Facility is closed to the public.

  • To request service or report a problem call 425-430-7400 on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

  • After normal business hours, call the Renton Police Department dispatch at 425-430-7500 to request assistance from an on-call representative. If the problem is an emergency, please call 911.

  • Residents can also use the Renton Responds app.

  • 20 MPH flashing school zone beacons turned off.

  • The May 9 Spring Recycling Event is cancelled and will be rescheduled.

  • Continuity of operations measures initiated to isolate water treatment operators from other employees during work.

  • Republic Services has put into effect new temporary guidelines for waste collection procedures in the interest of safety for both the public and their drivers. All recycling and organics materials must be placed in a cart or can; any loose, bundled, or bagged items outside of a cart or can will not be collected. Extra garbage must be placed in a cart, can, or secured in bags. Bulky waste collection and Clean Sweep collections are suspended until further notice. All collection routes are on normal schedule. Questions? Contact Republic Services at 206-777-6440.

  • Republic Services will waive late fees and penalties and will not activate any service suspensions for a period of 90 days. (March 23)

Recreation

Open

  • All parks. However, restrooms, playgrounds, sport courts, fields, and other active recreation areas within parks are closed. (3/20)

  • All trails, except two sections of the Cedar River Trail.

  • In both parks and trails, please follow recommended social distancing and proper hand washing.

Click image to download a copy pf the poster

Closed

  • All restrooms, playgrounds, sport courts, fields and other active recreation areas within city parks. (3/20)

  • All classes, events and activities at least through April 24.

  • Registrations through April 26 will be cancelled.

  • Refunds processing for March cancellations; April to follow.

  • Maplewood Golf Course, driving range, pro shop and River Rock Grill until further notice. No public access.

Renton Municipal Airport

  • Offices are closed to the public. Runway and support services are operational.

  • For general information, please visit our website or call 425-430-7471 (administration) or 206-423-3715 (maintenance).

Renton Municipal Court

  • Courts are closed until further notice and staff is working remotely.

  • In-custody court hearings are no longer being held at City Hall.

  • Jail Calendar is heard via video conference with prosecutors and public defenders.

  • Work is on-going to conduct Domestic Violence No Contact Order Recalls.

  • Jury service and passport service is suspended until at least April 27.

  • Continuing all non-essential hearings until a later date.

Renton Police Department

  • March 13 - Chief Ed VanValey updates procedures.

  • Closed the police department lobby and walk up window at city hall.

  • Only use 911 for emergencies; non-emergency reporting: 425-235-2121.

  • Public Health - Seattle & King County (206-477-3977) handles complaints of crowds of 50 or more.

  • School zone cameras turned off.

  • March 20 - Message from Chief Ed VanValey.

  • March 23 - Message from Chief Ed VanValey on governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy".

  • File a police report.

  • March 27 - Message from Chief Ed VanValey: "our role is to help educate"

Renton Regional Fire Authority

Renton Schools

Retail

Transportation

  • March 21 – Sound Transit service change includes new route, temporary service reductions.

  • March 20 – Sounds Transit to suspend fares on all transit modes until further notice.

  • March 19 - Sound Transit to temporarily reduce service on Link light rail, Sounder trains, some ST Express routes.

  • March 18 - Metro plans to temporarily reduce service starting Monday, March 23 to support the health of the community.

Utilities

  • City will waive late fees and penalties and will not shut off water service for a period of 90 days. (March 23)

  • Questions? Utility billing division: 425-430-6852; ub@rentonwa.gov.


County/State/Federal Actions

County

  • March 24 - King County releases new health and safety guidelines to child care providers.

State

  • March 30 – The state has set up an online form to report non-essential businesses that violate the governor’s Stay Home-Stay Health order.
  • March 23 - Governor announces a stay at home order, banning all gatherings and closing all but those businesses classified by the Federal guidelines as essential. The ban will take effect on March 25 and be in place for a minimum of two weeks. The governor indicated the order is voluntary in nature, it is enforceable by law. Resident will be able to conduct essential business (shopping, doctor’s appointments) and restaurants cans still conduct business via to-go orders. [Spanish]
  • March 19 – Governor orders halt to elective surgeries and dental services to reserve critical equipment for COVID-19 health care workers.

  • March 18 – Governor waives one-week wait for unemployment benefits. 

  • March 17 - Governor signs bill package to support state effort combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • March 16 - Governor issues statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars and limits on size of gatherings expanded.

  • March 13 - Governor expands school closure/gathering ban statewide.

Federal

  • March 27 - Congress passes CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package to aid coronavirus relied and economic stimulus.
  • March 22 – President approves Washington disaster declaration.

Important Links


Feedback

Comments, questions or suggestions, or just want to share all the great things that are happening in the city, please email me. Thanks for reading.

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Mayor's Newsletter wins National NAGC Award

NAGC national first place award

The Mayor's Newsletter has been awarded a 2018 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award for First Place for External Newsletters by the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC).

The committee looked at submissions from all over the country and judged them on purpose, goals, objectives, target audience, and special factors.

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