UPDATED: Coronavirus Updates from the City of Newcastle
Posted on 06/05/2020

ORIGINALLY POSTED FEB. 29, LAST UPDATED JUNE 5. 

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.

KING COUNTY TO IMMEDIATELY ALLOW LIMITED OPENINGS OF BUSINESSES

JUNE 19 - KING COUNTY ENTERS PHASE 2

Following approval by state Secretary of Health John Wiesman, King County has officially entered Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start recovery plan to allow limited business re-opening. Phase 2 allows for twice the capacity in retail, restaurants, and other businesses previously allowed in King County’s modified Phase 1 and goes into effect immediately. Learn more here.

JUNE 5 - KING COUNTY APPROVED FOR MODIFIED PHASE 1 REOPENING

A plan drafted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, and King County Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott and approved today by state Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman immediately allows limited and modified openings for a wide range of businesses, recreation, and personal activities in King County.

Businesses are required to follow the state Department of Health’s specific guidance but must adjust their occupancy to the levels identified below. The State defines an establishment’s capacity as the fire code. The intent is to limit business operations to a level that allows for social distancing. Additionally, businesses in retail, professional services, and real estate must take steps to reduce indoor operations to thirty minutes. This is not meant to be timed to the second – no one is expected to have a stopwatch – but customers should be informed why it is important to limit close interactions.

Here is an overview of what’s happening in key sectors across King County:

Restaurants
• Outdoor dining activities is allowed at 50 percent of capacity with all tables and chairs maintaining 6 feet of distance, though additional seating will be allowed provided it follows Public Health – Seattle & King County’s best practices. Restaurants will also need to go through the normal process within their city - or King County if the establishment is located within unincorporated King County - to seek approval to expand outdoor seating.
• Indoor dining services may operate at 25 percent of capacity, provided such tables and chairs are more than 6 feet away from each other.

In-store retail
• All non-essential retail activities may operate but an establishment's occupancy may not be not be higher than 15 percent of capacity.
• Businesses are directed to provide signage encouraging indoor visits to less than 30 minutes, with face-to-face interactions limited to 30 minutes.
• Essential retail activities may continue to operate according to the existing state regulations.

Personal services: Cosmetologists, Hairstylists, Barbers, Estheticians, Master Estheticians, Manicurists, Nail Salon Workers, Electrologists, Permanent Makeup Artists, Tattoo Artists, Cosmetology Schools and Esthetics Schools
• All activities may operate but the number of clients served will be limited to no more than 25 percent of capacity or one person if it is a single bed/chair studio.

Professional services: Accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base
• All activities allowed but an establishment's occupancy should not be higher than 25 percent of capacity.
• Businesses are directed to provide signage encouraging indoor visits to be less than 30 minutes, with face to face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

Construction
• All construction, including those activities for which social distancing may not be maintained and the start of new construction projects, is authorized to resume.

“This important step in our COVID-19 response reflects all the sacrifice and hard work that our community has put into fighting this disease. The success of this guidance depends on business owners and community members embracing public health best practices, and understanding that one size doesn’t fit all,” said Executive Constantine. “By opening our economy carefully and deliberately, we make sure to stay healthy and continue down the path to full recovery.”

For more information, call Public Health's Business Compliance Line at 206-296-1608.

COVID-19 IMPACTS: CONSTRUCTION, PERMITTING AND INSPECTIONS

CLICK HERE: Important COVID-19 Information

City of Newcastle COVID-19 Procedures
Updated June 26, 2020


- Building Permit Applications and Inspections -

The following provisions will ensure that construction activity in the City of Newcastle complies with Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Washington approach to Phased Reopening and his associated Phase 2 Construction COVID-19 Job Site Requirements (hereafter referred to as “Governor’s Order”).

Acceptance of Building Permit Applications: Building Permit Applications will be accepted for all permit types.

Issuance of Building Permits: Building Permit issuance will be contingent upon the applicant submitting a signed Safe Start Construction Attestation that documents compliance with the Governor’s Order.

Inspection Limitations: Our inspector will make determinations whether inspections can occur on site or must be conducted remotely. Remote inspections will be conducted via Google Duo. Please schedule regular inspections through MyBuildingPermit.com. You will be notified if a remote inspection will be necessary.


UPDATES FROM THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE

JUNE 5 - Sports Courts Reopen, Playgrounds Still Closed

Following state approval to move forward with a modified Phase 1 reopening in King County, the City of Newcastle is reopening sports courts in our parks. That means all basketball, tennis and volleyball courts are now open for public use!

We’re excited to be able to offer these amenities again, but please stay vigilant and continue to follow state guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. A few reminders:
— Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with others
— Limit your gatherings to no more than 5 people outside of your household
— To avoid congregating, please leave courts as soon as you finish your game

The bathrooms at Lake Boren Park will reopen as well. However, our staff wants to give them a thorough cleaning. We’ll let you know when they’re back in service, likely next week.

Our playgrounds and picnic shelters remain closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19. We’ll keep you updated as we continue to follow the county’s plan for a safe reopening. Thanks for your patience!

MAY 29 - City Hall Closure Extended

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 until further notice

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.

“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.

APRIL 24 - Summer Event Cancellations

The COVID-19 outbreak has posed an enormous challenge for our country and our region. Keeping our community safe remains our number one priority as we continue to evolve through this crisis. With that in mind, the City of Newcastle is making the very difficult decision to cancel our Fourth of July celebration and our Summer Concerts in the Park series for 2020.

“This was not an easy decision to make. We recognize that our summer events are essential to the spirit of community that defines Newcastle. It’s disappointing that we cannot come together to celebrate in-person this year, but we must protect the community and do everything we can to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19,” said City Manager Rob Wyman.

For now, the Newcastle Days celebration on September 12 remains on the calendar. However, the City is monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and will make a final decision on whether or not to proceed by early summer. 

Newcastle is not alone in announcing these difficult cancellations. Our neighbors in Renton recently canceled its Fourth of July celebration and other large festivals. The City of Redmond has canceled all special events through the end of August. To the east, Sammamish similarly canceled events through August.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced every community to evaluate their events and determine if it’s in the best interest of public health to proceed in the current environment. The uncertain trajectory of the outbreak and the impossibility of maintaining safe social distancing at these popular events were important factors considered.

“Thank you so much for your understanding, Newcastle. I look forward to the day we can once again gather on the Lake Boren Park lawn and celebrate the events that make Newcastle such a special, connected community,” City Manager Wyman said.

APRIL 7 - City Partners With Aegis, YMCA to Help Seniors in Need Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

Aegis Gardens, the Coal Creek Family YMCA and the City of Newcastle are partnering to help citizens in need during this COVID-19 outbreak. We’re uniting to connect vulnerable Newcastle residents with resources and volunteers who want to help.

 

We are working together to assess the needs of vulnerable residents during this critical time. We’ll reach out to them, see how they’re doing, ask how we can help them, then mobilize support and resources. The YMCA is checking up on all of its senior members, while our partners at Aegis Gardens will focus on non-YMCA members of our community who reach out to them.

 

“During this critical time, it’s vital that we come together as a community to help our neighbors in need,” said Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman. “We are so grateful for community partners like Aegis Gardens and the YMCA for stepping up to lend a hand.”

 

First, we need your help! If you are a senior, or know of a senior family member or neighbor in the Newcastle community, who might need help with tasks such as grocery shopping, meal delivery or any other type of assistance, please submit their name and contact information to Aegis Gardens’ Alicia Campolito (Alicia.Campolito@aegisliving.com) or Cindy Leung (Cindy.Leung@aegisliving.com). You can also call Aegis Gardens at 425-970-6708 and ask to speak with Alicia or Cindy. Aegis Gardens can assist seniors with things such as grocery runs, meal drops and connect them with resources like therapists and support groups.

 

Once we have a better idea of how we can help our neighbors, if necessary, we’ll put out another call to our community, asking able volunteers to safely lend a hand where they can. We’ve already received a handful of messages from people who would like to help the community. If you’d like to join this effort, please email christinac@newcastlewa.gov and we’ll contact you when we have more information.

APRIL 6 - Schools Closed Through End of the Year

Today, Governor Inslee announced that schools will be prohibited from providing traditional, in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. School buildings are closed, but learning will continue. 

All school districts serving Newcastle have also released information and statements following the closure:

Bellevue: https://bit.ly/3aRRk8i
Issaquah: https://bit.ly/2RgrJxI
Renton: https://bit.ly/2Rj6QlH 

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 18 - Special Hours at Safeway

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. 

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.

JUNE 5 - Sports Courts Reopen, Playgrounds Still Closed

Following state approval to move forward with a modified Phase 1 reopening in King County, the City of Newcastle is reopening sports courts in our parks. That means all basketball, tennis and volleyball courts are now open for public use!

We’re excited to be able to offer these amenities again, but please stay vigilant and continue to follow state guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. A few reminders:
— Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with others
— Limit your gatherings to no more than 5 people outside of your household
— To avoid congregating, please leave courts as soon as you finish your game

The bathrooms at Lake Boren Park will reopen as well. However, our staff wants to give them a thorough cleaning. We’ll let you know when they’re back in service, likely next week.

Our playgrounds and picnic shelters remain closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19. We’ll keep you updated as we continue to follow the county’s plan for a safe reopening. Thanks for your patience!


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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