COVID-19 Information

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The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.



The City of Mercer Island is committed to sharing up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the community. These pages share the latest information, resources, and more.

Click on the shortcut buttons below to access the most requested information.


  • Additional $50 million Available for Small Businesses

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    An additional $50 million in aid has been made available to Washington businesses. Apply by December 11!

    On December 8, Gov. Jay Inslee announced additional economic supports of $50 million for workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total for Round 3 Working Washington Small Business Grants to $100 million. The additional money, doubles the number of Washington small businesses that will receive aid.

    Applications for up to $20,000 in emergency funding opens early this week.

    Industries recently shut down, such as restaurants and fitness centers, as well as businesses that have been devastatingly impacted throughout the pandemic, like music and event venues, have been prioritized, including:

    • Small businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019

    AND

    Businesses in the sectors that are most impacted by the recent public health measures or sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music and event venues.

    • Certain nonprofits may also be eligible if they have a primary business activity that falls into a similar category as noted above. Example – a nonprofit full-service restaurant or nonprofit music venue.
    • If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants from the priority pool, and funds remain, we may be able to provide grants to additional businesses or nonprofits from other sectors or who have annual revenues larger than $5 million.

    Round 3 Working Washington Small Business Grants will be awarded up to $20,000 and will cover:

    • Expenses or costs incurred due to COVID-19 and that were necessary to continue business operations.

    The application includes an eligibility checklist with the following criteria:

    • The expense is connected to the COVID-19 emergency.
    • The expense is “necessary” to continue business operations.
    • The expense is not filling a short fall in government revenues. (i.e. taxes, licenses, state, county, federal and/or city fees)
    • The Business will self–attest that the expense is not funded by any other funder, whether private, State or Federal.
    • The business wouldn’t be requesting assistance with expenses if they had not been impacted COVID-19.
    • The application has more detail regarding what expenses are covered by this grant.

    The online application portal will open this week and a link to the application will appear on the Department of Commerce website: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/working-washington-round-3/

    Priority will be given to applications received by Dec. 11, 2020.

  • News for the Week of November 9

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    News and highlights for the week of November 9.

    City Updates

    Virtual Event - A Conversation About Supporting Our Kids' Mental Health. Gather mental health tips for your family to help reduce and/or better manage anxiety, stress, and depression; ask questions that are on your mind; and connect with other parents of elementary kids. Visit www.MIParentEdge.org for more information about the free November 17 event and to register.

    Youth Suicide Prevention for Parents: A Virtual Presentation. On November 2, King County Public Health issued a Health Advisory for increased risk of suicide among youth. MI Parent Edge & the MI Forefront Team are presenting a free, virtual event for parents to learn evidence-based prevention strategies to help youth in crisis stay safe and get support. Like first aid and CPR, this valuable knowledge supports healthy families and communities. Click here for more information about the free event on November 19.

    November 13 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 37th week of the City’s response to the pandemic.

    Video Update from the City Manager. The next video update will take place during the Tuesday, November 17 City Council Meeting a little after 6pm. Watch the update on MITV-21 or YouTube.

    Top Headlines

    Travel Advisory Issued for Interstate and International Travel. On November 13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home. Inslee joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. Follow this link for the full travel advisory.

    COVID-19 Cases Spreading Very Quickly in the Puget Sound Region. The fall surge, which is showing no signs of stopping, has erased the progress that we made this summer. Western Washington, specifically King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, are hot zones for disease transmission. As the holidays approach, everyone should take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Click here for tips on how to keep your family safe this season.

    Taking COVID-19 seriously. When Susan was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Spring, she was a healthy woman in her late 30s with no underlying health conditions. Six months later, she’s still experiencing symptoms. Stories like hers are part of the landscape shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read her story.

    Increase in COVID-19 activity statewide extremely concerning as holiday season nears; Health officials call for renewed efforts now. On November 10, the DOH issued a warning about a concerning growth in COVID-19 activity. Click here for the news release.

    Staying Healthy During The Holidays. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. Here are a few steps you can take to make your celebration safer.

    Vaccine News

    COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. Read their latest news release for an update on vaccine candidates and supply.


  • Travel Advisory Issued for Interstate and International Travel

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    On November 13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home.

    Inslee joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus.

    Travel Advisory

    11/13/2020

    The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Persons arriving in Washington from other states or Washingtonians returning from other states or countries could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. To learn more about the risk that travel itself poses for COVID-19 exposure, please visit the CDC page on travel risks.

    Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel

    1. Persons arriving in Washington from other states or countries, including returning Washington residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.
    2. Washingtonians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to Washington.

    In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

    Follow this link for the full travel advisory.

  • News for the Week of November 16

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    News and highlights for the week of November 16.

    Mask-Giving Day. The “Mask-Giving” giveaway will take place this Saturday, November 21, at the MICEC from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Click here for more info.

    Video: A Conversation About Supporting Our Kids' Mental Health. On November 17, MI Parent Edge and the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Department presented a virtual conversation about supporting our kids' mental health with MIYFS Elementary Counselors. The video is available here.

    November 20 Situation Report. Click here for highlights and information from the 38th week of the City’s response to the pandemic.

    Video Update from the City Manager. Click here to watch City Manager Jessi Bon’s November 17 update on the latest COVID-19 information and update on City services.

    Top Headlines

    Inslee announces cap on third-party delivery fees to help restaurants. On Thursday, Gov. Inslee announced a new cap on fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery platforms, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates and others. For more information, click here.

    Governor Announces Tighter COVID-19 Restrictions Including In-Home Gatherings. On November 15, Gov. Inslee announced a four-week tightening of COVID-19 restrictions that began on Monday, November 16 at midnight. Click here for more.

    From KC Public Health: This Thanksgiving Requires A New Approach – And Extra Caution. COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in King County, Washington State and nationwide. More and more frequently, the virus is spreading within small groups and households. It’s moving from friend to friend, from family member to family member. If they weren't already adjusting their holiday plans, people across the state must rethink them now. Read more here.

    Vaccine News

    Video: How COVID Vaccines Are Made. Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? The Washington State Dept. of Health put together this video to help answer them. Check it out!

    School News

    In-Person Learning Update from MISD Supt. Colosky. On November 13, Superintendent Colosky updated the community on return to in-person learning plans. Click here for her update.

    Resources

    New Free Test Site at Highline College. Starting this week, south King County will have a new option for convenient, free COVID-19 testing. A new site at Highline College in Des Moines will expand efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in a disproportionately affected region of King County. These sites are free and open to anyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Click here for details.

  • News for the Week of November 23

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    News and highlights for the week of November 23.

    COVID-19 disease transmission exceedingly high in Washington: three-day cumulative total for cases is over 6,000. The Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) data report for Monday includes a backlog of cases. So, while we are reporting 6,277 new cases today, that number represents roughly three days’ worth of cases. Click here for the full press release.

    COVID-19 testing unavailable at some locations during Thanksgiving holiday. If you are planning to get tested this week, check the schedule for temporary service closures in observance of Thanksgiving and call any of the site locations if you have any questions. Follow this link for more information on testing sites in King County.

    Video: As COVID cases skyrocket, an update from Dr. Jeff Duchin. As cases skyrocket and hospitalizations increase, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, shared updates on COVID-19 and what the public needs to do to turn the outbreak around. View the video here.

    Department of Health urges people to limit Thanksgiving gatherings, not seek screening tests. On Friday evening, the Department of Health (DOH) released a statement discouraging people without symptoms from seeking tests. DOH strongly urges everyone to limit their holiday celebrations to only members of their immediate households. They also encourage anyone with symptoms or close contact with someone who is infected (or suspected to be infected) with COVID-19 to get tested now. For more, click here.

    Inslee announces additional COVID-19 financial support. On November 20, Gov. Jay Inslee announced additional financial support funds for families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total new economic supports amount to $135 million. Click here for more information.

    Mercer Island Updates

    Video Update from the City Manager. The next video update will take place during the Tuesday, December 1 City Council Meeting. Watch the update on MITV-21 or YouTube.

    Situation Report. Due to the holiday, there will be no SitRep posted on November 27. Click here to get caught up on previous SitReps.

    In-Person Learning Update from MISD Supt. Colosky. On November 21, Superintendent Colosky provided another update to the community about a delay in the plan for students to return to in-person. As of November 21, anticipated in-person learning for kindergarten will begin in January. Click here for her update.

    Information for Businesses

    New SSTAR Program mobile outreach schedule for bars and restaurants. Public Health's Food Protection Program is going mobile and is giving away free safety supplies for bars and restaurants throughout King County. Click here for more information.

    New document for food establishment managers: Required Information for COVID Prevention and Control Plan for Restaurants with Close Contacts. Found on the webpage, "When food workers are positive for COVID-19", if you operate a restaurant or other food service facility in King County, you are required to submit a COVID Prevention and Control Plan for approval under specific circumstances.

    Vaccine News

    COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts, and are hopeful a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 will be available before the end of the year. This week we heard encouraging news about a second COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We are excited that there are potentially two very effective vaccines close to being ready for approval. Follow this link for the full update.

    Resources

    Coping with COVID: It’s not just you. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone. As we move into fall, we face even more challenges: changing weather, schoolwork, holidays and gatherings, and strong political opinions. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? It’s not just you. The things you’re feeling and experiencing are normal during a disaster, and there are things you can do to cope. To help you navigate this unprecedented time, we are bringing you a podcast series of conversations with experts on many of the topics we’re facing daily. Click here for more.

    Ways to Help

    YFS Winter Holiday Program. The MIYFS Emergency Assistance Department is planning their annual Holiday program for families experiencing economic insecurity on the Island. The goal is to ensure no child would celebrate their family's winter holiday without a gift or a special holiday meal. The anticipated cost this year to serve 50 families (including 90 children) is $13,000, which will require additional donations to support. Please consider making a donation today at www.miyfs.org/donate.

    Keep it local King County. As King County follows statewide temporary restrictions on public gatherings, Public Health - Seattle & King County and King County Executive Constantine is encouraging residents to patronize local businesses. Learn more about how to help here.

  • Renewing Your Drivers License in the time of COVID-19

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    The DOL wants YOU to renew online.

    Washington’s Department of Licensing has moved to online services. If you need to meet with a representative in person, you’ll need an appointment. Take care to plan ahead, because social distancing and other safety measures are limiting the DOLs capacity, and appointments fill quickly.

    "To ensure residents with urgent needs — think identification for meds or employment, not an enhanced upgrade — can get an appointment, we’re asking those with non-urgent requests to go online, hold off, or find another way until the health emergency is over."

    If your license or permit expired between March 1 - September 30 this year, the DOL has extended the renewal period. Extensions vary. Please visit the DOL website for details.

  • Vaccine Timeline: Advancing to Phase 1B-Tier2 on March 22

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    On March 4, Governor Inslee announced that the state would advance to Phase 1B-Tier2 on March 22.

    Phase 1B-Tier2 includes essential workers in the following groups:

    • First responders, law enforcement, and firefighters.
    • Grocery store workers.
    • Workers in agriculture and food processing.
    • Public transit employees.
    • Corrections employees at jails and detention centers.

    Phase 1B2 also includes anyone 16 and older who is either pregnant or has a disability that puts them at higher risk.


  • Vaccination Update: Washington Moves into Phase 1B

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    As of Jan. 18, 2021, all older adults in Washington state over the age of 65 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    People 50 and older who live in multigenerational households are also eligible if they meet certain conditions. Due to limited supply of vaccine, not everyone will be able to access a vaccine right away. Access will improve as the supply chain widens and providers in King County receive more doses.

    Don't fall into this category? Follow this link to use the Department of Heath's Phase Finder so you can know when it is your turn.

    Visit our vaccine page for informational videos and other information about vaccines.

  • New Local Health Order on Isolation and Quarantine Directive

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    On March 28, the King County Public Health Officer issued a new quarantine directive and isolation order.

    Quarantine Directive: People with symptoms, with a test result pending, are directed to “remain in quarantine while waiting for the test results.”

    Isolation Order: People who have tested positive are to “remain in isolation until no longer infectious.”

    King County is working on setting up quarantine and isolation facilities for people who are unable to quarantine at home due to more vulnerable family members or other situations. The following locations have been or are being set up:

    • Issaquah isolation and quarantine hotel now open
    • Kent isolation and quarantine hotel now open
    • Eastgate isolation and quarantine center will open April 10
    • Seattle has one isolation and quarantine center open with another opening soon

    If you need to utilize an isolation or quarantine facility due to a positive test result, contact the King County COVID-19 call center between 8:00 AM–7:00 PM PST at 206-477-3977 for more information and to register.

    Let’s continue working together as a community to keep everyone healthy!

  • Governor Announces Tighter COVID-19 Restrictions Including In-Home Gatherings

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    Updated: On November 15, Governor Jay Inslee announced a four-week tightening of COVID-19 restrictions that will begin Monday, November 16 at midnight.

    In response to what the Governor and state officials have dubbed an “explosive situation,” the series of updated measures are aimed at pushing back this third wave of the pandemic.

    Washington has “entered a phase of accelerated or exponential growth of the outbreak,” State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said. “The number of cases reported each day in our state has more than doubled from about 1,000 cases a day reported, to more than 2,200 cases reported per day. If that doubling time continues, in two more weeks, we’ll be seeing over 4,000 cases per day.”

    “Today we are in a more dangerous position than we were in March,” the Governor continued during the special weekend press conference, but he is confident that Washington can knock down the virus again. To do that, he is implementing a series of modified restrictions, including:

    • Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless participants:
      1. Quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or
      2. Quarantine for the seven (7) days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.
    • Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
    • Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
    • Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
    • Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
      • Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
    • Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.
    • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
    • Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
    • Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
    • In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
    • Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
    • Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
    • Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
      • Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
    • Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
    • Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.

    While not as restrictive as March’s “Stay Home Order,” the revised guidelines place an immense financial burden on small businesses. The state is committing an additional $50 million in aid; the details of the financial assistance program will be announced in the coming days. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Administration are still available to small businesses. (Follow this link for tips from a Mercer Island business owner.)

    The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.

Page last updated: 21 January 2022, 11:21