UPDATED: Coronavirus Updates from the City of Newcastle
Posted on 04/02/2020

ORIGINALLY POSTED FEB. 29, LAST UPDATED APRIL 2. 

The City of Newcastle continues to coordinate with Public Health — Seattle & King County, as well as our first responders, to help keep our community respond to the COVID-19 situation. On March 6, the City of Newcastle issued a Proclamation of Local Emergency. Newcastle City Hall is currently closed to the public and many of our staff members are working from home.

King County has activated the King County Emergency Operations Center to support Public Health and help coordinate the work of cities across King County. For the latest updates, prevention tips and fact sheets (in several languages), bookmark kingcounty.gov/covid.

Our local businesses are struggling. The City's Newcastle To Go community initiative encourages you to support our Newcastle restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery. View a list of each restaurants' delivery/takeout options at newcastletogo.com.

The City of Newcastle will continue to update this page as new information is available. Click the buttons below for more information and resources about the novel coronavirus.

GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY HOME, STAY HEALTHY ORDER THROUGH MAY 4

Inslee Announces Stay Home, Stay Health Orders

APRIL 2 UPDATE: The state's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has been extended through May 4.

Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a Stay at Home, Stay Healthy order in Washington state. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:

— Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.

— Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).

— Going to work at an essential business.

— Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of six feet is maintained.

WHAT'S OPEN

— All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open.

WHAT'S PROHIBITED

— All gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are prohibited. This applies to both private and public gatherings which include everything for sleepovers for children to weddings and funerals. All of these type of events must be postponed for public health and safety.
— All businesses, except for essential businesses. Businesses that can operate using telework should continue to do so. For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the governor’s office will provide guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. If a business believes that it is essential, or if it is an entity providing essential services or functions, they will be able to request designation as an essential business. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said. 

The proclamation states it’s still safe for people to go outside as long as they remain at least six feet from each other. Grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open. People can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — as long as they follow social distancing rules.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

COVID-19 IMPACTS: PERMITTING AND INSPECTIONS

Construction Activity and Inspections

As of midnight on 3/25/20, all construction activity must stop per the Governor’s Executive Order. We are suspending construction inspections except for the specific exemptions spelled out in the Governor’s Order which include:

A. ) Construction related to essential activities as described in the Order;
B. ) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
C.) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

Please do not schedule an inspection unless you meet one of the above-stated exemptions. If scheduling an essential project inspection, please indicate the specific provisions in the Governor’s Order that your construction project falls under to justify exemption applicability.

All construction activity and all inspections allowed to occur must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding. The following guidelines are applicable for creating a safe environment for workers and inspectors:

Do not request an inspection if any occupant or contractor is displaying any symptom of illness, is currently sick, or has been sick within the last 14 days.
Remote video inspections may be conducted where social distancing or inspector safety cannot be guaranteed, the type of inspection is suitable for video inspection, and where technological barriers do not become a hindrance.
— Inspections may be canceled or postponed at the inspector’s discretion to ensure safety.

Video inspections will be conducted via Google Duo. Please download the Google Duo app prior to 8:00 a.m. on the day of your inspection as the building inspector will call between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. to schedule your video inspection time. Please be aware that alternate formats for video inspection may apply as directed by the inspector. For inspection questions, contact Jack Helm at 206-714-4703 or jackh@newcastlewa.gov.

Please note that issuance of new permits for work not considered as part of an essential activity will be delayed until the Governor’s Order has been lifted and it is safe to resume construction activities

Building Permit Applications and Inspections

The following provisions will ensure that construction activity in the City of Newcastle complies with Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25) and his associated Construction Guidance Memorandum issued March 25, 2020 (hereafter referred to as “Governor’s Order”).

“Essential Project” includes all uses defined in the Governor’s Order. Applicants shall describe how a proposed essential project meets the definition and criteria of “essential” in the Governor’s Order.

Acceptance of Building Permit Applications: Building Permit Applications will be accepted under the following four scenarios:

1. The applicant attests that the project is an “essential” project as defined by the Governor’s Order and describes how it meets the criteria;
2. The applicant attests that the project is for “emergency repair” as provided by the Governor’s Order and as defined below;
3. The applicant acknowledges that the application will be processed but not issued until the Governor’s Order is lifted; or
4. The application is for a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing.

Please read this handout for a full rundown on City procedures for building permit applications and inspections during the COVID-19 outbreak.

You may schedule an inspection at MyBuildingPermit.com. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions your inspection could be delayed in order to keep our inspectors safe and abide by the COVID-19 guidelines


UPDATES FROM THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE

MARCH 31 - UPDATES: Newcastle's April Public Meeting Schedule and More

The City of Newcastle is making changes to its public meeting schedule for the month of April, following new guidance issued from state officials. The April 7 Newcastle City Council meeting is canceled, as are the April meetings of the volunteer Community Activities and Planning Commissions.

To protect the health of our staff, public officials and residents during the COVID-19 outbreak, the City transitioned all public meetings to the video-conferencing platform Zoom. Under new policy direction from the state, online meetings are still permitted, however, Cities can only conduct business that is considered essentially urgent or related to the COVID-19 response.

The Newcastle City Council will next convene on April 21 for a regularly-scheduled meeting. The agenda and information on how to participate in the Zoom video-conference meeting will be released closer to April 21.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

For additional March 31 COVID-19 updates, ready the City's newsletter here.

MARCH 26 - Waste Management changes, QFC adds special shopping hours

WASTE MANAGEMENT SERVICE ALERTS

At this time, collections continue on regular service days. However, WM has temporarily suspended the bulky waste collection so all available resources may be dedicated to regular curbside collection. Please do not place bulky items at the curb as they will not be collected. Bulky waste collection will resume at a date yet to be determined – after the COVID-19 crisis passes. For the latest updates on any service changes, please go to http://servicealerts.wmnorthwest.com/newcastle.

QFC ADDS SHOPPING HOURS FOR SENIORS

The Newcastle QFC has reserved the hour of 7-8 a.m. Monday through Thursday for seniors (60+) and other higher-risk customers, as defined by the CDC. Their associates will happily assist anyone who needs additional help while shopping. The store asks all customers to respect this special time as we work to protect the community.

MARCH 24 - City Hall closure extended

From City Manager Rob Wyman: Following the Governor’s order, I’m extending the closure of City Hall through at least April 10. While we’re closed to the public, our staff is still working from home, ready to serve you during regular business hours. I want to assure you that public safety is our top priority, so our police and firefighters are still on duty ready to respond to any need you have.

Read the March 24 COVID-19 updates in City Manager Rob Wyman's message to the community: https://conta.cc/2Jfg9i2.

MARCH 23 - Newcastle Closes Playgrounds, Sport Courts, Picnic Shelters

Last week, the City of Newcastle closed park playgrounds in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Today, effective immediately, we’re expanding that closure to include sports courts (basketball, volleyball and tennis courts) and picnic shelters. The bathrooms at Lake Boren Park are also closed. Signage and tape will be added today. Parks and trails remain open for walking and activities that do not require close proximity. Please continue to practice social distancing and stay 6 feet away from others at all times.

 

Parks and recreation provide a much-needed outlet for our community during this difficult time. However, we must enjoy our natural environment in a way that does not work against our efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. These decisions are made to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community.

Despite Newcastle playground closures and state directives to practice social distancing, we STILL received reports of residents congregating together this weekend. PLEASE STAY HOME TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19! Every face-to-face interaction is an opportunity for the coronavirus to spread and impact those most at risk. Staying home saves lives.

Do it for the health of yourselves, your families and your Newcastle neighbors! The more we all make decisions for the good of the community, the quicker we can get through this thing together. Thank you for your assistance and understanding!

MARCH 18 - UPDATES: Special Hours at Safeway, Waste Management Closes Call Center

NEWCASTLE SAFEWAY TO OFFER SPECIAL HOURS FOR AT-RISK POPULATION

City staff just confirmed with our Newcastle Safeway that they'll be offering special shopping hours for at-risk community members! QFC has not established anything similar at this time, however, we'll let you know if anything changes. Here's the message from Safeway:

To help ensure that the most at-risk members of our community who must leave home to obtain groceries are taken care of, we are reserving 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for them. During these times, we ask that you avoid shopping so that the stores can be available for senior citizens and other at-risk members of our community such as pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. 

WASTE MANAGEMENT SERVICE CENTER UPDATE

From our partners at Waste Management:

Collection is continuing as usual!

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community. Your Waste Management drivers are trained, experienced and on the job to ensure safe and professional collection for garbage and recycling. At this time, collections continue on regular service days. Should conditions change, this website is your #1 resource for updates.

With safety as a Waste Management core value, we are temporarily suspending telephone service for residential customers. This change allows us to transition call center representatives to remote locations in keeping with CDC guidance for social distancing. We are working swiftly to establish remote capacity and resume residential call services. Until then, we are grateful for your patience!

Customer service is currently available using their online chat function on their website. For the latest updates, visit wmnorthwest.com/newcastle.

MARCH 16 - Newcastle City Hall Closed Through March 27

The City of Newcastle is taking proactive steps to protect the health of our customers, residents and staff. In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and adhere to public health directives for social distancing, Newcastle City Hall will be closed to the public effective immediately through at least Friday, March 27.

During that time, Newcastle City Hall will be temporarily closed to in-person services and most staff will be working from home. Staff will still be available by phone and email to provide assistance and answer questions during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Please be assured that essential services, namely police and fire protection, will continue uninterrupted.

“To be clear, we are not shutting down the City or stopping services. We are evolving with the crisis and doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus as best we can,” said Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman.

Please note: The closure does not affect the businesses located in Newcastle City Hall. Reach out to them directly for any changes to their schedules.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

— In the event of an emergency, please dial 911. For non-emergency police services or inquiries, please call 206-296-3311.

— For general questions, call City Hall at 425-649-4444 and leave a message. City staff will be checking the line frequently throughout the day and will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

— Report issues such as parks/trails concerns, problems involving storm drainage, streets, traffic signals and trees or other vegetation online using YourGov yourgov.cartegraph.com.

— If you’re looking to chat with a specific staff member, you can view our staff directory at newcastlewa.gov/contact. All staff members will be available by email and will get back to you as soon as possible.

— The City is still accepting electronic permit application submittals during the closure. Submit all building permits online at mybuildingpermit.com.

— Inspections will continue, however some inspections of occupied spaces (such as in-home residences) will be done via video.

— Parks remain open, however, all Lake Boren Park shelter reservations will be canceled through the month of April.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your understanding as we work to prioritize the safety and welfare of our residents, customers and employees amidst the virus outbreak,” said  City Manager Wyman.

For the most recent Newcastle-related COVID-19 updates, visit newcastlewa.gov/coronavirus. Follow the latest news and guidance from Public Health — Seattle & King County at kingcounty.gov/covid.

MARCH 16 - Coal Creek Family YMCA Closed

Following Gov. Inslee's directive to close all restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities, the Coal Creek Family YMCA announced that all facilities are temporarily closed effective March 15, 2020. Here is the message they posted on their Facebook page:

Due to the county mandate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Y facilities are temporarily closed effective 3/15/2020. We are quickly responding to this change and will provide details on our website and via email as soon as possible.

MARCH 13 - Newcastle Library Closed to the Public

The Newcastle Library and all KCLS locations will close to the public starting at 6 p.m. Friday. These closures will remain in effect until at least April 13, or further notice, to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Read KCLS' full message here.

MARCH 12 - All Schools Closed Through April 24

Gov. Jay Inslee just announced that all K-12 schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties must close through April 24. Each district will communicate directly with its school community regarding plans for student meals, learning options and childcare during this prolonged closure.

Here are links to the messages from each of the school districts that serve Newcastle students:

Issaquah: ISD will close all schools from Friday, March 13 to Friday, April 24 (Link: https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/emergency-details/2020/03/12/isd-schools-to-close-from-friday-march-13-through-friday-april-24)

Renton: RSD will close all schools beginning Monday, March 16 to Friday, April 24 (Link: https://www.rentonschools.us/learning-and-teaching/health-services/coronavirus-covid-19)

Bellevue: BSD will close all schools starting Friday, March 13. Note, their website has not yet been updated with the Governor's new direction that schools must remain closed through April 24. (Link: https://bsd405.org/corona-virus-covid-19/)


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

What are the Symptoms?

People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:

— Fever
— Cough
— Difficulty breathing

When should I seek medical evaluation and advice?

If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn't mean you have novel coronavirus, but you should call 9-1-1.

If you're over 60 and you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. Come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks for coronavirus and how to manage symptoms. Contact your doctor right away if you do have symptoms.

Prevention Tips

It’s important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, especially to protect those who are more vulnerable. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:

— Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
— Avoid contact with people who are sick
— Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others
— Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 infections.

RESOURCES & LINKS

 

COUNTY AND STATE RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

We encourage residents to stay informed by checking the following links from trusted regional and state sources. These offer resources, tips and the latest news and information:

— Public Health Seattle & King County: kingcounty.gov/covid
— Washington State Coronavirus Response: coronavirus.wa.gov

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

King County has established a novel coronavirus call center. If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you're a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact 206-477-3977. The call center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For general questions about COVID-19, please call the state hotline number listed above. 

SCHOOL DISTRICT RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

Our Newcastle school districts are stepping up and providing resources to students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. These include meal services and childcare. Click on your school district to see what services they're offering:

— Renton School District
— Issaquah School District
— Bellevue School District
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