Bellevue skyline. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

Bellevue skyline. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo

Eastside cities seeing widespread event, meeting cancellations

“Business as usual” was common for most cities earlier this week. Now, cancellations are increasing.

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

While at the beginning of the week Eastside cities were mostly operating “business as usual,” as of March 6, events and meetings and increasingly either getting canceled or virtually conducted.

Below is a collection of which city and community 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 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 was scheduled for March 10, has been canceled in Bothell. There is no confirmed new date. The March 10 city council meeting was also canceled.

As for Kenmore, city manager Rob Karlinsey on March 5 signed a local declaration of public health emergency.

The Kenmore City Hall and Hangar will remain open during regular business hours, though the permit center at City Hall will be closed March 9-13. (Permit requests can still be made online at mybuildingpermit.com)

The Kenmore City Hall’s King County Vote Center will also remain open until March 10.

Until further notice, the Kenmore Senior Center will remain closed.

The city is canceling large events, public meetings and group reservations through the end of March, according to a press release.

These include, according to the release, City Hall group reservations and classes, Hangar group reservations, the March 9 city council meeting, the March 10 financial sustainability task force meeting (which will now be held online) and the March 11 State of the City address at Inglewood Golf Course. The March 16 meeting city council meeting is still going to happen, according to the release.

“As the situation evolves, including whether we have adequate staffing to maintain city operations, the steps to help contain the virus and keep the public and city staff safe may change based on new Public Health recommendations,” the city of Kenmore said in a press release. “In addition, we will continue to assess the need to activate our Emergency Operations Center and determine appropriate staffing if needed.”

“We are monitoring the situation closely, and we are having discussions every day,” Elizabeth Tackett from the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber of Commerce said, adding, “We want to do what’s best for everyone.”

In March 6 announcement, the chamber acknowledged the March 11 State of the City cancellation and noted that it was being moved to May 13. Tickets will be transferred and refunds are available if requested. The March General Meeting has been canceled; the next one will be April 23.

As for ribbon cuttings and committee meetings, the chamber is checking in with businesses and updating its members/posting on its website.

The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation is also cognizant of coronavirus concerns. It is canceling two performances: a March 7 show from Hamilton tribute act Rise Up and a March 14 show by ABBA cover band ABBAFab. Managing director John Lehrack said in an email that the organization cannot confirm at this time whether these performances will be rescheduled but that there are refund options for ticket buyers.

“I ask that you bear with us during this process,” Lehrack said.

Bellevue

Brad Harwood, the chief communications officer for Bellevue, said 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. Earlier this week, Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson signed a proclamation of a state of emergency that allows the city to streamline the process of equipment procurement.

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

The Step Up to the Plate Benefit Luncheon scheduled for March 17 was canceled.

Kirkland

Planning commission meetings slated for March 12 and March 26 have been canceled, as has the March 16 design review board meeting. The Houghton Community Council meeting of March 23 is no longer taking place.

On 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 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. The March 4 chamber business luncheon is rescheduled for May 14.

“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 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.”

In light of recent news about increased cases of COVID-19 in King County, Kirkland Performance Center (KPC) are taking the new recommendations from the CDC and King County Public Health to limit public gatherings very seriously.

All KPC performances will be postponed through March 22, and possibly beyond. The notice was stated on March 5.

“We’re incredibly proud of the place Kirkland Performance Center holds within this community and our first priority will always be the health and safety of our staff, customers, artists, and volunteers,” KPC said in a release.

Bringing Order Back, an organizing event scheduled for March 11 at Lakeview of Kirkland, has been canceled.

Several community events have been canceled as well: the Free Confidential Shredding and Styrofoam Recycling event at the Kirkland Maintenance Center (March 7), the Shamrock Run downtown/Marina Park (March 14), KU Kids at Kirkland Urban (March 14), Nowruz Celebration at Marina Park (March 15) and the Kiwanis Club of Kirkland (KCK) Easter Egg Hunt (April 12).

“Keeping our community safe is our highest priority,” KCK president Michael Marquess said in a press release. “We wish everyone a happy Easter and we will see you next year.”

Around noon on March 6, Kirkland announced that facilities like the Peter Kirk Community Center and the North Kirkland Community Center will be closed to the public, including private facility rentals. However, spring and summer class registration should be proceeding as planned on March 19. Refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“This was a very difficult decision for our city leadership because our programming is part of our quality of life in Kirkland, but we believe it is the right decision to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Parks and Community Services Director Lynn Zwaagstra in a press release. “We appreciate the community’s understanding and our staff are available to work with you to reschedule or cancel your events as appropriate.”

Athletic field rentals are still available, though. The city will refund rental fees, however, if a sports league feels it appropriate to cancel their reservation. Rentals of facilities like Heritage Hall, the Al Locke Pavilion at Marina Park and picnic shelters are still open, according to a city press release.

Mercer Island

Laurie Givan of the Mercer Island chamber said the organization has no plans currently to cancel any events.

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 6 Friday Night Film event at Aljoya was canceled. The March 11 design commission meeting was also canceled.

March 10 and March 17 rotary club meetings have been canceled; a representative said the group is still deliberating on whether to canceled March 24 and March 31 meetings.

A March 7 forest restoration event has been canceled; so have the March 9 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes. The March 11 arts council meeting, March 11 design commission meeting, March 17 city council meeting (and joint parks and recreation commission meeting), March 18 planning commission and March 19 open space conservancy trust board meeting have been canceled.

On March 5, the city signed a proclamation of emergency that allows the city to “act quickly” if the outbreak spreads to residents.

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 March 4 had been canceled but was not able to confirm a new date in the case of the event being rescheduled.

On March 5, the Old Redmond Firehouse Teen Center and the Redmond Community Center were closed until further notice.

In addition to the closures of the community centers, all senior programming has been canceled, including the Bytes Cafe.

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 cancelations. They include Winter Whimsy at City Hall and Family Movie Night at Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village, both March 6.

Donna Bannister, the office 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.”

The Vedic Cultural Center’s Festival of Color, which was scheduled for March 21 at Marymoor Park, has also been canceled.

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.

The Holi festival of color, scheduled for March 15, has been canceled as well.

“We may reschedule for later in the season pending site availability and the evolving public health situation,” said Friends of Lake Sammamish executive director, Jennifer Adut. “We are really disappointed but feel that the health and well being of our community is the biggest priority right now.”

In addition, “Coffee with a Cop” is also canceled. The event was scheduled to take place on March 11, although Issaquah police look forward to rescheduling for a future date, according to Rush.

The Startup 425 Seminar: Business Planning with the Lean Canvas at the King County Library — Issaquah Branch (March 10) has been canceled.

The Issaquah Philharmonic Orchestra has canceled its March 16 concert. The Issaquah School District has also canceled all bookings by outside groups.

Snoqualmie Valley

Joan Pliego, communications manager and public information officer for the city of Snoqualmie, emphasized that the city was being cautious.

“We’re trying to take a cautious approach…not create any panic in the area,” Pliego said.

So far, a CPR class scheduled for March 10 has been canceled.

The chamber is being cautious as well.

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

It was announced March 5 that the Winter Wine Walk event scheduled for March 7, which is put on in collaboration with the Downtown Snoqualmie Merchants Association, city of Snoqualmie and the chamber, has been canceled.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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