Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has publicly stated that anyone who is vaccinated against the novel coronavirus can resume all activities — such as going to the grocery store and gathering with friends — mask-free, the Washington State Department of Health is still urging caution.
In a May 19 press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) officials said that it is important to continue to exercise caution and care. The state’s transmission and disease levels are still not where they need to be, though more than half the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We are seeing with complete data and even the projection moving forward is that we believe that we are seeing that flattening and that decline,” DOH Health Sec. Dr. Umai Shah said of the state’s disease and transmission levels. “That does not mean that every place is having the same kind of decline.”
Unless State officials change the Roadmap to Recovery metrics before Tuesday, May 4, these same officials will likely move King County back into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, due to the fact that the County has exceeded both case and hospitalization rate metrics required to stay in Phase 3.
“Our 14-day new case rate is 242 [people] per 100,000 [people], and the metric for Phase 3 calls for that number to be below 200,” Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said in a press conference on Friday, April 30. “Our seven-day hospitalization rate is 5.8 [people] per 100,000 [people], and [the Phase 3] metric calls for that number to be below 5.”
It’s been more than a (very long) year since we could visit any branches of the Seattle Public Library (SPL), but the wait is over for three branch locations restarting select in-building services next week. SPL announced that starting Tuesday, April 27, Lake City, Southwest, and Beacon Hill branches will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Each branch location will offer 90-minute public use sessions at 25% capacity, with cleaning breaks between sessions. Masked and socially-distanced visitors may enter the library for multiple sessions in a day. Patrons can check out materials on hold, use a computer, print, copy and scan, use the restroom, get help from SPL staff, charge devices, and sit and read. Although browsing the library catalogue and using study rooms and meeting rooms will be unavailable at this stage, the restarting of select in-building services is a major step on the road to expanding in-person service.
Though a comprehensive report detailing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Seattle economy has yet to be published, preliminary data shows that 2020 has been nothing short of horrific for the local travel and tourism industry.
According to a Visit Seattle Annual Report from February, the tourism industry generated $11.7 billion in total economic impact and 80,317 jobs in 2019. But this year, practically every event that usually brought tourists into the area was cancelled — and cancellations at the Washington State Convention Center alone account for a $379 million loss to the local economy.
As more South Seattle small businesses reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, a new program led by a local chamber of commerce wants to ensure that customers and employees feel as safe as possible.
The Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce last week announced the launch of the “Southside Promise” campaign, an effort to equip local businesses with information and guidance to safely reopen. The program, a partnership with the City of Tukwila, provides face masks and other personal protective equipment and offers a reopening toolkit — essentially an in-depth slideshow presentation — aimed at helping businesses navigate the sometimes dizzying process of reopening.
Barbershops and beauty salons are more than just local businesses in Black communities. They represent safe spaces for communal gatherings and often serve as a hub for civic discourse, playing host to important cultural dialogue and connection. I vividly remember my early hair cut days, sitting in Greg’s chair — Greg was one of my first barbers — getting a skin-tight fade way back in 1996, as he explained to me in detail how the SuperSonics could beat Jordan’s Bulls and become NBA Champions. The barbershop is the one of the first places you’ll hear complex debates over sports, politics, religion, relationships, and everything in between. It’s also one of the few public spaces in a city with demographics like Seattle’s, where members of the Black community can have these debates without being under the microscope of whiteness.