March 20 COVID-19 Special Edition: Message from Mayor Penny Sweet, Message from Chief Cherie Harris, COVID-19 Updates from the City and Public Health - Seattle & King County, Kirkland Chamber Supports Local Businesses, Juanita Beach Pier is Open and More!

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this week in kirkland

March 20, 2020

city of kirkland washington

Message from Mayor Penny Sweet

Mayor Penny Sweet Still Shot March 20

Message from Police Chief Cherie Harris

Police Chief Cherie Harris

Police Chief Cherie Harris announced late this week temporary changes to Kirkland Police Department (KPD) protocol to protect officer and community health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, March 16 the City announced that the front counter at the Kirkland Justice Center would be closed to the public. Community members can still access an officer by using the blue phone located outside the front door to contact dispatch. The acceptance of new Concealed Pistol Licensing applications is temporarily suspended.

On Friday, March 20 KPD is announcing additional significant steps to help keep officers and community members safe:

  • Community members are encouraged to file police reports for not in progress crimes using our online reporting system at
  • You may notice that officers may be utilizing the phone to respond to calls for crimes that are not in-progress. This may require additional flexibility and creativity, such as photos and witness statements being shared via email or phone. The KPD is committed to continuing to provide excellent customer service.
  • Officers will be limiting contact, as much as possible, in cases where there is no immediate threat to the safety of the caller, or other individuals involved.

Officers will always respond in-person to emergency calls, serious in-progress felonies, any calls involving life safety, and to injury or blocking traffic accidents. Please know that these temporary changes are to protect the safety of our officers and the community. Limiting officer’s potential exposure to COVID-19 helps ensure that we will continue to have adequate coverage for our community.

“I realize that these temporary changes will feel out of the ordinary for community members and for our officers,” said Police Chief Cherie Harris. “These are unprecedented times that call for a different approach to keeping our community safe. Rest assured that we will still be there for you when you need us most. We appreciate the public’s understanding as we work to get through this challenging situation together.”

Community members are encouraged to continue to utilize 911 for emergency and in-progress situations. For more information about online reporting please visit the City website.

March 20 Update on City Operations and Kirkland First Responders

City logo

The City continues to operate its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate our response to the presence of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community.

Over the weekend, additional newsletters will not be issued unless changes to the situation warrant information being sent.

Update on First Responders

The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and responding to calls as normal.  City first responders have CDC recommended personal protection equipment and are following recommended protocols.

As COVID-19 spreads in our community we know that even though we are utilizing all recommended precautions and personal protection equipment, it is likely that our first responders will be exposed to the virus either on calls where symptoms aren’t yet presenting, or in their daily lives. We will continue to provide quarantine, isolation and support for our first responders throughout this incident. We will also continue to advocate for testing for all first responders. Testing criteria is established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In King County, testing is managed by health care providers based on CDC criteria. At this time the CDC is recommending that clinicians use their judgement to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. More information on testing requirements is available on the CDC website.

We are no longer able to offer blood pressure and temperature checks at City Fire Stations. These services may be available at your local pharmacy. Please visit the CDC COVID-19 symptoms site if you have concerns about symptoms. While the City appreciates the outpouring of support and concern from the community for our first responders, the City cannot accept donations at this time.

Updates on City Operations

All City facilities are currently closed to the public, but City staff are working. Many City services are available online or by phone at 425-587-3000 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

For residents that have limited online or phone access there are alternative methods to communicate with front desk staff. These resources and instructions are located at the north and south entrances at City Hall.

All City evening meetings except for City Council meetings have been cancelled until the end of March. This includes Commissions, Boards, and all Neighborhood Association meetings.

City of Kirkland Planning Department

To ensure safety to both our customers and staff, in-person building inspections will be restricted to new or unoccupied construction only, subject to social distancing protocols. Inspections that are requested for occupied structures may be postponed or conducted using remote technology such as video, photos or by an agreed upon arrangement at the inspector’s discretion.  Third party inspections are not being allowed.

Waste Management Updates Effective March 18, Waste Management is temporarily closing residential call centers to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information:

Recreation Registration and Parks Operations             

The City has also cancelled all recreation programming, classes, and facility rentals through Friday, April 24. That includes community centers, recreation programs, facility rentals, athletic fields and picnic shelters. Green Kirkland Partnership volunteer stewardship events are also cancelled during this time.

While the City encourages informal use of the parks, please be mindful of the recommended social distancing and proper handwashing and sanitation. Community centers, athletic fields and picnic shelters are anticipated to reopen on April 27, pending any additional guidelines from the state. In addition, YMCA has closed KTUB, the Kirkland Teen Center, at Peter Kirk Park through Tuesday, March 31.

The annual boating season begins April 1. The city’s boat launch will remain in the open position throughout the month of April. Boat launch cards will be required beginning May 1. All boaters are encouraged to purchase their boat launch card online ( or by phone. Purchased cards will be mailed.

All parks and recreation business can be conducted online at or by phone at 425-587-3300. Anyone unable to utilize a credit card for online transactions is encouraged to call the customer service center at 425-587-3300. Alternate payment methods such as cash, check or scholarship can be arranged.

Spring and summer recreation program registration began March 19. Registration proceeded as scheduled, opening at 6 a.m. on March 19 at However, only programs beginning in May are available for registration. Programs are expected to resume in May, pending any additional guidelines received by the Washington State Department of Public Health.

Court Operations

In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Court lobby services are closed to walk-in visitors, but available by phone at 425-587-3160, until further notice.

Members of staff are available by phone, 425-587-3160 or email, to assist customers and answer questions.  To make payments, you may mail, use our drop box located near the front entrance, or post payments online

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Court will reschedule all March hearings except for mandatory DV/DUI charges (which must be heard the next judicial day) and in-custody defendants.  The Court will tentatively resume normal operations on April 1, 2020.

Guidance from the State and Federal Governments

On March 17, Governor Jay Inslee ordered statewide closure of food establishments to sit-in service and the prohibition of gatherings of more than 50 people. For more information, visit the Public Health Seattle-King County website.

More information on newly announced assistance for workers, renters and businesses is online.

Public Health-Seattle & King County Updates

Public Health reminds people to access the informational resources on Public Health Insider. Public Health is reporting the official case count in King County as 693. In addition, 4 new deaths are reported, bringing the total of confirmed deaths in King County to 60. Public Health has been publishing blogs on the Public Health Insider with a wealth of content about COVID-19. Here are a few recent highlights:

COVID-19 is spreading in King County. Public Health expects the case count to double every 5 to 7 days unless orders to stay away from others are followed diligently. Already, Public Health expects that anyone we come into contact with may be infected because there is wide-spread infection in our community.  It’s critical to minimize the number of people who get seriously ill at the same time. If too many people get sick all at once, this will put too much of a burden on our health care system. If that happens, people at highest risk – people over 60, and with underlying health conditions – may not be able to get the care they need if they get seriously ill. 

Some healthcare providers are experiencing sporadic shortages of the supplies needed to collect testing samples, and that limits the number of tests that can be sent to labs.  County and state leaders are working on ways to get more supplies to healthcare providers.

Follow the guidance for anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 and their contacts on how to prevent the spread to others

Update from Lake Washington School District

Based on Governor Inslee’s announcement on March 12, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) will now be closed through April 24 and will re-evaluate any further closures during that time. For more information visit the Lake Washington School District website.

The City will continue to update its website with information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additional testing capacity, adjustments at King County jails, and other COVID-19 updates from Public Health - Seattle & King County for March 20, 2020

Additional testing capacity for COVID-19 is arriving, but capacity is still constrained, and King County correctional facilities are taking steps to increase social distancing. Public Health announced 100 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the official case count in King County to 793. In addition, seven new deaths are reported, bringing the total of confirmed deaths in King County to 67.

Availability of COVID-19 testing

This week, King County is receiving 4,000 sample collection test kits from the federal government to address the highest priority testing needs in our community. Testing capacity is expanding through commercial laboratories, and it is better today than it was a few days ago. Still, we continue to experience gaps with test kits in the areas of our highest priorities, including for first responders, health care workers, healthcare systems serving those at highest risk, and others at highest risk who don’t have regular access to health services. Public Health will be deploying these additional sample collection kits to make sure these priority groups have the supplies they need.

In King County and Washington state, health care providers are advised to focus limited testing capacity on people at highest risk and with more concerning symptoms. At this time, it's not possible to test everyone who we would like to see tested or who wants to be tested, especially those with mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

For people who have or think they have COVID-19:

Prioritizing jail bed space to promote social distancing

The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention is working with its partners in the criminal justice system – courts, King County Department of Public Defense, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Department of Corrections, and law enforcement – to prioritize jail beds for those who pose the greatest risk to public safety. That will help ensure that the Jail Health Services staff has the adequate space they need to provide care for those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, King County correctional facilities are not accepting people who are arrested for violating the terms of their state Department of Corrections (DOC) community supervision. They are also working with DOC to transfer anyone who is in a King County correctional facility on a DOC warrant back to state custody. By the end of next week, this could result in all 180 people in custody for DOC warrants transferring back to DOC custody.

Jail leadership has also asked law enforcement to prioritize booking people into correctional facilities for violent crimes against people during the pandemic, to create more opportunities and space in our correctional facilities for increased social distancing as advised by Public Health—Seattle & King County.

There were 1,766 people in custody at adult correctional facilities Thursday, down from 1,940 on March 1. The county is exploring all options to further reduce the number of people in custody as quickly and safely as possible for the health of the entire community.

For additional details regarding correctional sites, please visit:

Case updates

Public Health—Seattle & King County is reporting the following confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/19/20.

  • 793 confirmed cases (up 100 from yesterday)
  • 67 confirmed deaths  (up 7 from yesterday)

These additional deaths include:

  • A man in his 80s, who died on 3/19
  • A woman in her 90s, who died on 3/17
  • A man in his 70s, who died on 3/18
  • A woman in her 80s. who died on 3/18
  • A woman in her 70s, whose date of death has not been confirmed
  • A man in his 70s, who died on 3/19 at Valley Medical Center
  • A woman in her 60s, who died on 3/19 at Harborview Medical Center

Of the 67 deaths reported, 35 are confirmed to be associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland.

Kirkland Chamber of Commerce Creates List of Local Businesses Offering Take-Out

Keep calm and take out blue

We know that that the negative impacts of COVID-19 can seem a bit overwhelming for all of us. The City wanted to share a resource that may help our community members lessen the blow for our local business community. Kirkland restaurants and coffee shops are doing their best to stay afloat during the statewide prohibition of sit-in food service, by offering take-out, and in some cases, delivery services. A stroll down Park Lane reveals numerous opportunities to support Kirkland’s award-winning restaurants by purchasing breakfast, lunch, dinner and beverages to go.

The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce is offering an ever-growing virtual resource guide for local businesses and consumers, so that we can work together as we seek to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Visit the Chamber website for a frequently updated list of restaurants and bars continuing to serve customers with takeout and delivery services, and information on local grocery stores. Chamber membership is not a requirement for inclusion on this list. If you would like to see your businesses featured on this resource page, please email the Chamber at:   

For more information, visit:

Updates from King County Metro

South Kirkland Park and Ride pic

Changes coming to Eastside Bus Service

Starting tomorrow (Saturday, March 21), Metro will provide Eastside residents with more service, increased evening and weekend options, and better connections to Sound Transit Link light rail and RapidRide. To learn more about what’s changing and to see whether your route is affected, visit:

Please note: While the service change on Saturday is going forward as planned for fixed route, Community Ride will not be launching in Bothell-Woodinville or the Juanita area as planned.

Also starting March 21, new routes may mean new connections to Sound Transit Link light rail or buses, including route 255 to UW light rail station. If you pay cash to ride a Metro bus, your paper transfer will not be accepted on Sound Transit services and you will need to pay separately for that portion of your trip. With an ORCA card you only have to pay the difference between your two fares when you transfer. For more information on ORCA cards please visit:

Metro to Temporarily Reduce Service Starting Monday, March 23

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, King County Metro is implementing temporary service reductions beginning on Monday, March 23. The services reductions include how often buses run and when they operate. According to Metro, some bus routes will not operate and nearly all routes will be impacted with individual trip cancellations. More detail on the reductions is available at:  

Juanita Beach Pier is Open

Juanita Beach Pier light

The Juanita Beach Pier is open after a two-week closure for City parks crews to complete lighting upgrades. The existing pole lights are over 40 years old and have reached the end of their useful life. The pole lights, which will be removed in the next few weeks, have been replaced by sleek runway/pathway lighting that illuminates the walking path. The new low-profile ambient lighting encompasses the entire pier (lighting was previously just on the west side), making the path safer for people walking. Thank you for your patience as we worked to complete these important safety upgrades.

Remember: Your Toilet is Not a Trash Can

With toilet paper in short supply, it’s important to remember that disposable wipes, paper towels, feminine products and other disinfecting wipe products are never to be flushed down the toilet – even when the packaging claims things like “flushable” or “biodegradable.” Disposable wipes and similar products do not break apart like normal toilet paper, and can clog sewer lines and lift station pumps, leading to costly, unsanitary backups. Now more than ever we need to work together to keep our infrastructure running smoothly!

For more information on wastewater services in King County, please visit:

King County wastewater image

Cancelled Events

Out of an abundance of caution and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the following events are canceled:

The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
All Chamber events through the month of April are cancelled
For more information, visit:

Kirkland Performance Center
All Kirkland Performance Center shows through April 30 are postponed
For more information, visit:

Kirkland Parks and Community Services Job Fair 
Wednesday, March 25, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Kirkland Parks Maintenance Facility
For more information, visit:

The Kiwanis Club of Kirkland's 46th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 12 1:30 p.m.
Peter Kirk Park
For more information, visit: