Mayor Durkan issues civil emergency proclamation

City reports it has been preparing and planning for COVID-19 since January

The City of Seattle reports that Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has issued a Proclamation of Civil Emergency, granting the mayor the ability to exercise emergency authority to address any immediate dangers to the public as a result of COVID-19. The city will soon announce actions stemming from this proclamation, which will be made in coordination with Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County, the Washington State Department of Health and other elected leaders.

The city reports it has been preparing and planning for COVID-19 since January. This weekend, the mayor issued a directive to her cabinet to formalize a series of ongoing actions within the city’s scope to respond to COVID-19. Among several actions, the directive asks city departments to reiterate employee guidance on safety and best practices, prioritizes city efforts on behalf of our vulnerable populations including individuals experiencing homelessness, and ensures proper communications with immigrant communities, including non-English speaking populations.

In the announcement, Durkan said the city needs more resources from the state and federal government.

“We are looking to our partners to increase the availability of testing in a way that does not overwhelm the health care system, but meets the growing need,” Mayor Durkan said in the news release. “We also need members of the public to be our partner in these efforts. Practice good hygiene, make a plan for yourself and your loved ones, and reach out to your neighbor to offer assistance.”

The Proclamation of Civil Emergency grants the mayor emergency authority to take measures to address imminent threats to public health and safety caused by COVID-19. Actions authorized in the proclamation include the ability to bypass regulations and the steps normally required of city contracting and borrowing; the ability to forgo regulatory permits in order to site or implement facilities needed to address COVID-19; and the ability to immediately adjust the use and closure of city facilities and events as necessary to prevent continued spread of COVID-19, according to the city.