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

ORIGINALLY POSTED FEB. 29, LAST UPDATED MAY 6. 

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 TO END OF MAY, ANNOUNCES SAFE START PLAN

Inslee Announces Update to Stay Home, Stay Healthy Orders

MAY 4, 2020 — While Stay Home, Stay Healthy is being extended to the end of May, the governor announced his Safe Start plan which amends some components of the original order and allow for a start to re-open the state.

Through the Washington “Safe Start” plan, more businesses and activities would re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures and health standards in place. Each phase will be at least three weeks — data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.

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

COVID-19 IMPACTS: CONSTRUCTION, PERMITTING AND INSPECTIONS

Process for Restarting Existing Construction Projects

Prior to recommencing construction work under existing permits, all contractors are required to develop and submit to the City of Newcastle for review a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan (Safety Plan) as described in Governor Inslee’s Phase I Construction Restart COVID-19 Jobsite Requirements. As stated in the Governor’s requirements, the Safety Plan must include the following:

— Policies regarding the following control measures: PPE utilization; on-site social distancing; hygiene; sanitation; symptom monitoring; incident reporting; site decontamination procedures; COVID-19 safety training; exposure response procedures; and a post-exposure incident project wide recovery plan. A copy of the plan must be available on each job site during any construction activities and available for inspection by state and local authorities. Failure to meet posting requirements will result in sanctions up to and including the job being shut down.

— A signed Commitment Notice that will be provided to employees, subcontractors and government officials describing the Phase 1 work that will be performed at that job site.

— A description of the location at which the Commitment will be posted.

— A description of the location at which the Safety Plan will be made available for inspection during construction activities.

— The name and contact information for the designated COVID-19 Site Supervisor.

— A copy of the daily attendance log sheet that workers and visitors will sign, and a description of the location where the log sheet will be made available for signing.

Construction may commence only upon written notice from the City that the comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan has been reviewed and deemed sufficiently complete.  The City’s review notice may also include any conditions deemed necessary to comply with the Governor’s jobsite requirements.  The review notice shall be maintained and available on the site with the approved Safety Plan.

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 or subsequent Order(s), which include:

A.) Recommencement of construction on existing projects as described in the Governor’s Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements;

B.) Construction related to essential activities as described in the Order;

C.) Construction 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

D.) Construction 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.

Click here for a handout describing current City of Newcastle procedures for Construction Activity

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), his associated Construction Guidance Memorandum issued March 25, 2020, and his Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements (hereafter and collectively 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.

Click here for a handout describing current City of Newcastle procedures for Building Permit Applications


UPDATES FROM THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE

MAY 4 - 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 through at least May 31. The date follows the extension of Gov. Inslee's Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order.

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 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 - 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.


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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