City Adjusts COVID-19 Emergency Operations, Updates Reopening Plans

September 22, 2021 – In response to changing COVID-19 conditions, the City of Mercer Island has adjusted operations and reallocated resources to best support City services and protect the community’s health. Here’s what’s changed:

  • The City’s Emergency Operations Center, which is responsible for the citywide response to COVID-19, has been re-elevated to Level 2 status. A Level 2 activation is a moderate response, which organizes staffing and resources during a community emergency. In this case, the City’s response team is closely monitoring changing pandemic conditions, staying in direct contact with King County Public Health officials, and working closely with personnel from partner cities, agencies, and organizations. Weekly reports and meetings are held to ensure the City can respond quickly to community needs and changing health and safety guidance, and citywide operations are adjusted to ensure essential services can be maintained. The City was previously operating at a Level 3 response, which is the lowest-level of emergency operations.
  • Reopening plans for City facilities have been adjusted to protect staff and community members. City Hall will remain closed to the public and Council, board, and commission meetings will remain virtual. City leadership will evaluate new target dates and conditions for reopening over the coming months.
  • Expanded COVID-19 protocols have been implemented at all City facilities. Essential personnel who must work in City Hall or other City locations are required to wear a mask covering their face and nose at all times, whenever indoors or where a distance of six feet or more cannot be maintained. The Mercer Island Community and Event Center is also adjusting operations to protect staff and patrons – updated operation and safety protocols will be posted on the MICEC's webpage once available.
  • The City has extended payment flexibility options for utility customers financially impacted by the pandemic through a new COVID-19 Flexible Payment Program. The City will also continue to waive late fees and service disconnects due to non-payment for an additional 120 days after the end of the Statewide utility moratorium, set to expire on September 30, 2021.

These changes have been implemented after careful evaluation of public health data, risk metrics and the specific needs of the City and community.

Increased COVID-19 transmission and breakthrough cases pose specific challenges to essential City operations, including personnel shortages due to exposure or infection. The Level 2 activation of the Emergency Operations Center allows City leadership to efficiently adjust staff priorities and shift resources to ensure critical services, including police, fire, water and sewer, are maintained. Because of this, some non-essential services, such as park lawn mowing, are placed on hold when staff shortages or safety risks occur.

“We are doing everything we can to proactively respond to the latest impacts of the pandemic,” Mercer Island City Manager, Jessi Bon, said. “We are prioritizing the most important services for our community and making these changes to keep our teams distanced, safe and operating.”

The City thanks the community for their continued understanding as operations change. All community members are encouraged to stay up to date with the City on social media and follow the latest guidance from King County Public Health. For more information on the City’s Emergency Management operations, visit the division's webpage.

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