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.


  • Directive from King County Health: Wear Face Coverings in Public

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    Beginning May 18, King County residents were directed to wear face coverings in most public settings.

    The King County Health Officer issued a directive to wear face coverings in public places, both indoors in places such as grocery stores and businesses, and also outdoors when it’s difficult to maintain six feet apart from others. While face coverings do not replace proper hygiene or social distancing as protection measures, they can help to protect others and slow spread of COVID-19 by blocking infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or speaks.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define cloth face coverings as fabric coverings including cloth face masks, scarves and bandana coverings, or any homemade face covering made of cotton fabric. The CDC also makes clear that cloth face coverings should:

    • Include multiple layers of fabric
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

    Make sure you are wearing your face covering properly!

    Everyone is strongly urged to wear face coverings in places such as:

    • Stores that sell food and beverages (including: grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, farmers' markets, food banks, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, big box stores that sell groceries, and similar places that sell food).

    • Retail stores (including: convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair shops, hardware and home improvement stores, garden stores that sell supplies for growing food, office supply stores, and home appliance stores).

    • Restaurant take-out and food businesses. Employees who prepare, carry out, and deliver food must wear masks.

    • Cannabis shops and stores that sell dietary supplements.

    • Tobacco and vapor shops.

    • Buses, light rail, and other forms of public transportation.

    The Health Officer’s Directive relies on individual compliance; there is no penalty for not wearing a mask.

    Other details regarding the directive:

    Operators and riders on King County Metro will be required to wear face coverings.

    • Metro operators will not prevent passengers without face coverings from boarding, but recorded reminders will play on the vehicle’s public address system informing riders of the face covering policy.
      • Security officers will communicate public health guidance to riders who are not wearing a face covering or staying apart from other passengers.

    Face coverings are not directed to be worn when:

    • At home
      • In your car alone or if you’re only with members of your household
      • Exercising outdoors, like walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when appropriate social distancing is possible

    Is anyone exempt from wearing a face covering?

    • Face coverings should not be worn by children who are two years of age or younger, or children under the age of twelve unless supervised by an adult.
      • Additionally, if wearing a face covering would be difficult or harmful, an individual should not do so. Examples would be someone who has a physical disability that makes it difficult to easily wear or remove a face covering; someone who is deaf and uses facial and mouth movements as part of communications; someone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear one; or someone who has trouble breathing or cannot remove a face covering without assistance.

    For more information visit www.kingcounty.gov/covid.

    Still need a mask? Check out these DIY Face Mask options from King County or these options from the CDC.! Have you seen the 45 second video from the Surgeon General? If not, he shares the easiest face covering option.

  • Resources for Mercer Island Seniors

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    The City has organized a number of resources and services for homebound seniors.

    Tech 101 Tutorial

    Check out this video with tips and information on how to use technology to stay connected with family and friends while staying safe at home.

    At-Home Workout Videos

    Stay Home but Stay Active with free workouts from MI Athletic Club! Five 15-minute, equipment-free workouts. Stream any time here on Let’s Talk. Coming to Channel 21, Monday – Friday in the mornings and afternoons. Thank you to Ginny Pietila and MI Athletic Club for this resource! More online workouts for all levels available at www.miathleticclub.com.

    Live Video Briefing Featuring YFS Geriatric Specialist, Betsy Zuber

    Geriatric Specialist for Mercer Island Youth & Family Services, Betsy Zuber, joined City Manager Jessi Bon for the April 16 Live COVID-19 Situation Briefing. Betsy provided counseling and consultation to Mercer Island adults, older adults and their families for 20 years. During the Thursday briefing, she shared the latest resources for Mercer Island seniors.

    Request Assistance from Emergency Volunteers

    The City has mobilized Emergency Response volunteers to help provide assistance to vulnerable populations or others in need. City volunteers can provide assistance with a wide range of non-professional services such as maintaining safe access to your entryways (removing plant growth or debris) or running local on-Island errands when delivery services are not available from retailers. To request assistance, please call the Coronavirus Hotline at (206) 275-7626 or email coronavirus@mercergov.org.

    Senior Hours at Mercerdale Park

    To help provide access for seniors, starting tomorrow, the City will implement Senior Hours at Mercerdale Park. Monday-Friday between 7:00am-10:00am. CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. We’re asking the community to respect these hours to better serve our senior population.

    Disabled Parking at Mercerdale and Luther Burbank Parks

    To help provide access for members of our community with accessibility challenges, starting tomorrow, the City will open disabled parking spaces at Mercerdale and Luther Burbank Parks. These spaces will be available during park open hours for patrons with government-issued handicap placards or license plates. Staff are reevaluating parks restrictions daily and working to find solutions that suit our senior and disabled neighbors.

    Senior Services through YFS

    YFS Specialists are still available for phone and email consultations Monday – Wednesday for senior residents and their families. Click here for more information.

    Senior Shopping Hours

    Click here for details about special shopping hours.

    Connecting to Culture from the Comfort of Your Home

    Bored? Missing the arts? Erin Vivion, Mercer Island resident and Chair of the Mercer Island Arts Council, compiled a list of suggestions to stay connected to the arts. Follow this link to connect to culture from your couch.

    Forever Young, and Also Over 60

    Washington State Department of Health published an article on information and tips for residents who are 60 or older to stay as healthy as possible. Click here for the article.

  • Flu Season is Here

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    According to health officials, the flu vaccine should be considered “essential” this year.

    While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, autumn brings with it another unwanted visitor – the flu. The presence of both viruses could put more people in the hospital and strain Washington’s health care system. We may not have a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 at this time but we do have one to prevent flu. State health experts want you to take action.

    Schedule an appointment or walk in to get your annual flu shot at one of three pharmacies on Mercer Island:

    Walgreens

    Address: 7707 SE 27th Street

    Phone: 206-232-1197

    Pharmacy Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 8am-10pm;

    Sat: 9am-6pm;

    Sun: 10am-6pm.

    Closed 1-1:30pm daily for break

    Rite Aid (North End)

    Administering the high-dose vaccine for Seniors 65+

    Address: 3023 78th Ave SE

    Phone: 206-236-0776

    Pharmacy Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 9am-9pm;

    Sat: 9am-6pm;

    Sun: 10am-6pm

    Rite Aid (South End)

    Address: 8441 SE 68th Street

    Phone: 206-232-3000

    Pharmacy Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 9am-7pm;

    Sat: 10am-5pm;

    Sun: Closed


    Vaccination Clinics

    Public Health – Seattle & King County is organizing two drive-thru clinics at the ShoWare Center in Kent on Wednesday, October 7 and Saturday, October 10 in collaboration with the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association (SVNA) and the Kent School District.

    They'll offer all vaccines required for K-12 school entry (Hep B, Varicella, Polio, MMR, Tdap, DTaP plus flu vaccine to kids ages 4-18). All vaccinations will be provided at no cost and available to all kids regardless of insurance status. SVNA will be providing adult flu (at no cost to uninsured and underinsured community members).

    The clinics are open to all King County residents.

    For more info visit the Find a Vaccination Clinic webpage.

    https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/immunization/clinics.aspx

  • Social Distancing in Public Parks and Trails

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    These are the following social distancing in public parks and trails:
    • Do not use parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms
    • Follow CDC's guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting parks or trails
    • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains
    • Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass
    • Observe CDC;s minimum recommended social distancing of 6-feet from other persons at all times
  • 8 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Planning

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    Planning is underway at the federal and state levels.

    While there is currently no authorized or approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program has been working since the pandemic started to make a COVID-19 vaccine available as soon as possible.

    There may be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2020. If there is limited supply, some groups may be recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine first. Find out the 8 things you need to know about vaccine planning.

    1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.

    The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

    2. Many vaccines are being developed and tested, but some might be ready before others—CDC is planning for many possibilities.

    CDC is working with partners at all levels of government to plan for different vaccines and scenarios. CDC is in contact with your state public health department to begin planning. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments are critical to making sure vaccines are available to communities.

    3. At least at first, COVID-19 vaccines might be used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Learn more about FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization authorityexternal icon and watch a video on what an EUA is.

    4. There may be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2020, but supply will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow.

    The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. The plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers available so no one will have to travel far to be vaccinated, whether it’s at your doctor’s office, retail pharmacy, hospital, or federally qualified health center.

    Learn about how the federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturersexternal icon to help them increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine.

    5. If there is limited supply, some groups may be recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine first.

    Experts are working on how to distribute these limited vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) gave inputexternal icon to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which will make recommendations to the CDC director once a vaccine(s) is authorized or approved for use.

    6. At first, COVID-19 vaccines may not be recommended for children.

    In early clinical trialsexternal icon for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults participated. However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future.

    7. Cost will not be an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

    The federal government is committed to providing free or low-cost COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccine providers will be able to charge administration fees for giving or administering the shot to someone. Most public and private insurance companies will cover that fee so there is no cost for the person getting vaccinated. In addition, people without health insurance can get COVID-19 vaccines at no cost.

    8. COVID-19 vaccine planning is being updated as new information becomes available.

    CDC will continue to update this website as plans develop.

    Washington’s ‘Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan’ submitted to CDC

    The Washington State Department of Health submitted its interim vaccination plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the stated deadline of October 16, 2020. Click here for more information on the proposed plan.

  • New School and Long-Term Care Guidance

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    Governor Inslee announced new guidance for returning to school this fall as well as guidance for visiting long-term care facilities.

    Guidance for 2020-2021 School Year

    On August 5, Gov. Inslee announced new recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health for resuming in-person instruction in public and private K-12 education for the upcoming 2020–2021 school year. Inslee was joined by Chris Reykdal, state Superintendent of Public Instruction at a press conference.

    Similar to the state’s county-by-county phased approach to reopening, the plan allows local health departments and school districts decide if and how they will allow students back in the classroom.

    Counties have been grouped into three categories – High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Low Risk based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents over 2-week period.

    • For High Risk (more than 75 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) strongly recommend distance learning, and (b) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
    • For Moderate Risk (more than 25 new cases per 100k residents), the state (a) recommend distance learning – middle/high school, (b) possible in-person learning options for elementary, and (c) strongly recommend canceling or postponing all in person extracurricular activities.
    • For Low Risk (fewer than 25 new cases per 100k residents – just 5 counties), the state (a) encourage hybrid in-person and distance model for middle/high school, and (b) full-time in-person learning for elementary.

    Additional for the 2020-2021 school year includes that all in-person instruction should be able to implement state recommendation and health requirements that protect staff and students like physical distancing measures, hygiene and cleaning measures, daily screenings, etc.

    To help low income families, the state is providing $8.8M of CARES Act funding to purchase internet plans and other technology needs.

    For more information, click here.


    Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

    On August 6, Gov. Inslee announced guidance that allows long-term care facilities to offer visitation and other activities. Many long-term care facilities were forced to curtail social activities for residents and visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19.

    The plan goes into effect August 12, and even after it becomes effective, individual facilities must meet additional parameters before re-opening. The graduated restart plan for long-term care will give providers, residents and families direction for resuming normal activities, like visitation. The plan includes a number of public health metrics that must be met in order for facilities to move through the phases. It is modeled after the Safe Start plan.

    • Facilities in Phase 1 are can only allow window, remote, or outdoor visits (except compassionate care visits).
    • Facilities in Phase 2 are able to allow the same activities, with the addition of limited indoor visits for those residents unable to participate in virtual or outdoor visits.
    • Facilities in Phase 3 may include all activities allowed in Phase 2, but limited indoor visits are extended to all residents.
    • Normal visitation is not reinstated until Phase 4 of the long-term care plan. See the image below for more inormation.

    For more information about the guidance for long-term care facilities and visitors, click here.


  • COVID-19 transmission increasing in western Washington, rates flat but higher in eastern Washington

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    On October 14, the State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report on COVID-19 transmission. Report findings include:

    Transmission is increasing in western Washington and recently plateauing in eastern Washington. The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) were 1.12 in western Washington and 0.94 in eastern Washington as of September 27. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining.

    The situation in eastern Washington is unstable and efforts to control the spread of the virus must be strictly maintained or intensified to avoid a backslide. This instability is clear in case and hospitalization numbers, where we’ve seen increases and decreases at various points in September rather than the desired steady downward trend. The proportion of positive tests to total tests also remains high. Per person, the case rate in eastern Washington is twice as high as in western Washington and the daily hospitalization rate is more than twice as high.

    Case counts in western Washington are increasing across all age groups and over broad geographic areas. This suggests increases are due to broad community spread, not driven by a single type of activity or setting. Though all age groups are seeing increases, the rising trends among older people are particularly concerning because these groups tend to experience more severe illness.

    Recent growth in cases is widely distributed across a number of counties. Some larger counties (Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston) are seeing steady increases. Several smaller counties (Lewis, Mason, Pend Oreille and Skagit) are clearly experiencing increases, though the total number of recent cases remains low. Benton and Franklin counties are seeing gradual but steady increases as well.

    Trends are also mixed in counties with flat or decreasing case counts. In Spokane County, the steep increase in cases in early to mid-September may have reached a plateau. Case counts are fluctuating in Whitman County, with some likely increases in older people following a recent spike in the college-age population. Cases remain flat in Yakima County. Grant and Grays Harbor counties are seeing steady declines, and Whatcom County is starting to see decreases as of the start of October.

    Click here to read the latest WA SitRep: https://covid.idmod.org/data/WA_Situation_Report_18_COVID-19_transmission_across_Washington_State.pdf

  • COVID-19 Cases Spreading Very Quickly in the Puget Sound Region

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    Issued on November 10 from the Washington Department of Health:

    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, including:

    • Limit in-person gatherings as much as you can. That means reducing the number of times you gather, how many people attend and how long you spend together. Gather outside if possible, or open windows and doors to maximize ventilation inside.
    • Always wear a face covering when you’re around people who don’t live with you. This includes close friends and family. It may feel awkward to do this around people we know well and trust, but many people get COVID-19 from someone who doesn’t have symptoms yet. Even if you’re keeping some physical distance, it’s still a good idea to wear a face covering.
    • Talk to your family and friends about alternate ways to celebrate the holidays. Brainstorm ideas for virtual celebrations so you can still enjoy spending time together without putting each other at risk.
    • Make a safety plan for in-person gatherings. Have a conversation with your family and friends about what you’re going to do to reduce risk of spreading COVID-19 when you gather.
    • Stay home if you’re sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. If you’re feeling a little under the weather but aren’t sure if you’re getting sick, take the cautious approach and protect others by staying home.
    • Keep up your good hygiene habits. Wash or sanitize your hands often and avoid touching your face.

    Read the full news release here.

  • Thursday Situation Briefings

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    Update: The May 28 Situation Briefing was the eleventh and final live briefing.

    City Manager Jessi Bon will continue to update the community on City operations and coronavirus-related information via her City Manager Report at the beginning of each regular Council Meeting. The City Manager Report video and PowerPoint Presentation are available here. Also, the Let's Talk coronavirus pages will continue to be updated regularly. Continue to look for the latest updates in the MI-Weekly E-Newsletter and on the City's social media pages.

    Links to all Thursday Situation Briefing videos and presentations are below.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    City Manager Jessi Bon hosted eleven live City situation briefings on Thursday afternoons from mid-March through May. City Manager Bon and leaders from the City as well as the City leadership team shared the latest information on the response to the coronavirus pandemic and City operations. Briefings were broadcast live on Thursdays via MITV-21 and the City's YouTube Channel.

    May 28 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • This is the eleventh episode in the City's coronavirus video briefings.
    • Topics covered include: easing of restrictions on religious gatherings, update on fraudulent unemployment claims and steps to take to protect your identity, and other City updates.

    May 14 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • This is the tenth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences.
    • Topics covered include: an update on the state's Safe Start, contact tracing, testing, and other City updates.

    May 7 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • This is the ninth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences.
    • Topics covered include: an update on the state's Safe Start phased approach to opening and other City updates.

    April 30 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • The eighth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences will feature Police Chief Ed Holmes and Emergency Manager Jennifer Franklin.
    • Topics covered include: Chief Holmes and Officer Franklin will provide an update on the easing of portions of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order, information crime prevention, and other City updates.

    April 23 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • We apologize for the technical difficulties with the live stream on the City's YouTube Channel. We will make sure that is corrected for next week's live briefing. You can watch the full, archived version here.
    • The seventh episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences featured Mercer Island Community Fund Board Member, Sharon Perez and Small Business Liaison, Sarah Bluvas.
    • Topics covered include: Sharon and Sarah shared the latest information on the WeLoveMI Campaign and resources for Mercer Island businesses, as well as other timely updates.

    April 16 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • The sixth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences featured Geriatric Specialist, Betsy Zuber and MI Emergency Management Volunteer Liaison, Dave Uhler.
    • Topics covered include: Betsy and Dave shared the latest resources for Mercer Island seniors and City volunteer efforts, and other timely updates.

    April 9 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • For the fifth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences, City Manager Jessi Bon had Small Business Liaison, Sarah Bluvas and Interim Parks & Recreation Director, Ryan Daly join her in providing updates and information on small business resources and parks updates.
    • Topics covered include: They shared the latest information and resources for local businesses, parks updates and etiquette review during the Governor’s Stay Home Order, as well as an update on City services.

    April 2 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • The fourth episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences featured Officer Jennifer Franklin, the City's Emergency Manager.
    • Topics covered include: Officer Franklin explained how the City’s Emergency Operations structure works, how the City executes incident coordination and procurement region-wide, emphasized social distancing mandates, and covered other timely topics.

    March 26 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • The third episode in the City's ongoing series of live video conferences featured Dr. Hal Quinn, a board-certified physician practicing at Mercer Island Pediatrics. Dr Quinn also serves as the Medical Director on the City’s emergency response team and works closely with MIPD Emergency Manager Franklin on medical oversight and protocols for major City incidents.
    • Topics covered included: Doctor Quinn shared his observations about the regional COVID-19 outbreak and suggest appropriate measures for parents and the community to consider during this unprecedented time; the City’s response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home” Order and impacts to City operations; updates from MIPD and MIFD; and a Community Call to Action (what you can do to help).

    March 19 - Video and PowerPoint Presentation

    • The second episode in our ongoing series of live video conferences to update the community on the City's coronavirus response and continued preparations for extended impacts featured Donna Colosky (MI School District Superintendent), Laurie Givan (Exec Director of the MI Chamber of Commerce), Cindy Goodwin (Director of the City’s Youth & Family Services Dept), Ed Holmes (Police Chief), and Steve Heitman (Fire Chief), will all join the briefing to provide updates and help answer questions from the community.
    • Topics covered included: Police and Fire situation briefings; City service changes; Support for local business; New Public Health orders, and more.


    • City Manager Jessi Bon hosted a live video conference to update the community on the City's coronavirus response and ongoing preparations. The Police Chief, the Fire Chief, and the Director of Youth & Family Services joined the briefing to help answer questions from the community.


  • Governor Relaxes Some Phase 2 Restrictions

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    Newly relaxed restrictions on movie theaters, restaurants, real estate, youth sports, adult recreation, league games, and more.

    On October 6, Governor Inslee announced more activities will be permitted in each county statewide, depending on their specific Recovery Phase.

    Under the new protocols, in Phase 2 counties, movie theaters will be able to operate at 25% capacity, but facial coverings and 6 feet of distance between households will be required.

    In addition, restaurants in Phase 2 counties can now serve alcohol now up to 11:00pm (instead of 10:00pm), maximum table size has been increased to six individuals, and indoor dining groups need not be comprised solely of household members.

    Real estate open houses will now be allowed within each county’s size-limit for gatherings, and some indoor activity is allowed at libraries, at 25% occupancy.

    Additional protocols will also be released for a variety of outdoor group sports with more than a dozen participants, such as: bicycle rides, fun runs and marathons, kayak and canoe races, triathlons, ski races, and others.

    More youth sports and adult recreation, including some league games, in both indoor and outdoor settings, will be allowed depending on specific risk factors for each sport, without spectators. Youth football is not yet allowed due to the amount of close contact.

    Wedding reception limits in Phase 2 Counties remain at 30 individuals.

    Click on the links below for Phase 2 updates:

    All issued guidance is posted on the Governor’s COVID-19 webpage.

Page last updated: 21 January 2022, 11:21