April 14 COVID-19 Special Edition: Message from Mayor Penny Sweet, Celebrate Takeout Tuesday, Hopelink Hosts Food Drive, Gov. Inslee Issues Protections for High-Risk Workers, and More!

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this week in kirkland

April 14, 2020

city of kirkland washington

Message from Mayor Penny Sweet on Ways our Community Can support our Essential Workers

Mayor Penny Sweet

Like many organizations, the City of Kirkland has undergone a dramatic shift since the issuance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. City Hall is no longer bustling, as many employees are now working from home. Zoom meetings have become a way of life, for myself and the rest of the City Council, for City leadership, and our City staff. Other Kirkland businesses have followed suit, allowing their employees to work remotely so that we can all work together to flatten the curve of this virus.

But our essential workers don’t have the option of telecommuting. Our essential workers must perform their job duties despite the presence of COVID-19 in the community, and the inherent risk of potential exposure. Today we want to show our appreciation for our essential workforce, and sometimes, the very best way to do that is simply by saying, “Thank You.”

Join us in thanking our firefighters, police officers, Information Technology staff, Public Works and Parks employees, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff and other City employees who have continued to report for duty to help ensure that your toilets flush and water flows out of your tap. Further, join us in thanking the rest of Kirkland’s essential workforce, including our grocery store clerks, medical staff, nurses, pharmacists, restaurant employees, transit drivers, gas station attendants and all the other unsung heroes who get up every day, put their game faces on, and come to work ready to face whatever the day might bring. 

Essential workers, we thank you for your dedication and courage!

Things you can do to support our essential workers

Say “Thank You”

This might seem like a no-brainer, but those two words are incredibly powerful, particularly to those facing extraordinarily stressful work environments on a daily basis. COVID-19 has temporarily upended our daily normalcies in exchange for fear and uncertainty, as we struggle to adapt to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Treating essential workers with kindness and expressing your gratitude during this time is a wonderful way to be a part of the solution.

There are so many opportunities to thank them! When you spot a UPS driver making deliveries, your local mail carrier stopping by with your mail, or Waste Management arriving to take away your trash, take a second to thank them for the important work they’re doing.

Create Custom Art

With our local schools out for the rest of the year, parents all over Kirkland are looking for ways to keep their kids happy and occupied. Making colorful signs thanking essential workers is a great way to show your appreciation in a way that’s fun, meaningful, and who knows, you might spark somebody’s inner artist. Hang your signs in the front windows of your home, on your mailbox, or even on your vehicle, as long as they don’t obstruct your view. As an added benefit, crafting has been studied and shown to reduce anxiety, depression and stress and improve overall mental health! Artistic projects that express appreciation for our essential workers are a win for everybody involved.  

Support their families

It is not only essential workers faced with undue stress – their families face it as well. Essential workers and their families are having to navigate ongoing challenges associated with changing shifts, longer hours, less predictable schedules and other workplace difficulties amplified by the COVID-19 outbreak. Do you live near an essential worker? If so, consider picking up their groceries when you make your own trip to the store, or treat them to a delicious dinner from one of our local restaurants offering delivery. If nothing else, find a way to let them know you’re thinking about them.   

Provide and Share Resources

Our City staff have worked hard to create extensive online resource guides aimed at both residents and businesses. Additionally, we’ve got a “Ways to Help During COVID-19” webpage dedicated to those in our community who want to serve. Sharing your knowledge of available resources and passing along accurate information is a great way to support our essential workers. Remember, the City has done the work for you! Our staff has taken the time to vet these resources, so please share them with those who may be in need. And don’t forget to check our general response to COVID-19 information page frequently, as it is updated regularly.

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Truly, the best thing you can do right now to support our essential workers is to stay home. Staying home and avoiding contact with others is the best way to ensure that we can resume our normal lives as expediently as possible. We understand that there is a time for essential errands, so if you must go out, remember to stay at least six feet away from others at all times. Additionally, protect our essential workers by donning cloth masks while at the grocery store or pharmacy, and take advantage of businesses offering enhanced hygiene tools, such as handwashing stations.

Remember, we're all in this together, and together we'll get through this!

Hopelink Hosts Four Hour Food Drive Saturday, April 18

Hopelink is committed to ensuring access to food for our most vulnerable neighbors. During the COVID-19 crisis, many who have never before needed to ask for help are turning to us for support; facing fear, uncertainty and a sudden lack of income.

To help ensure Hopelink is able to continue providing food, Hopelink will hold a 4-hour drive-through food drive at their Kirkland center on Saturday, April 18.

From noon to 4 p.m. on April 18 only, community members are invited to drive through at Hopelink Kirkland, located at 11011 120th Ave NE.

They are able to accept ONLY the following: instant oatmeal (packets only), mac and cheese, canned tuna or chicken, chili/stew, canned fruit, rice (1 or 2 pound, white or brown), peanut butter.

For more information, visit the Hopelink website.

Hopelink image

Gov. Inslee issues protection for high-risk workers

Gov. Jay Inslee image

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on Monday, April 13 which gives high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment status.

The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections, including:

  • The choice of an alternative work assignment, including telework, alternative or remote work locations if feasible, and social distancing measures.
  • The ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insurance benefits while high risk employees are off the job.
  • Employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.

“I remain very concerned about at-risk populations – older adults and people with underlying health conditions,” Inslee said. “This proclamation ensures vulnerable high-risk workers don’t have to endanger themselves for fear of losing their jobs or a paycheck."

High-risk individuals are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and specifically include adults age 65 years and older, and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled.

Read the governor’s proclamation here.

Celebrate Takeout Tuesday!

Keep Calm and Take Out vertical

Are you getting bored with your typical takeout options? Startup 425’s interactive restaurant map can open a new realm of takeout possibilities for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Recognizing that a regional approach is best in overcoming the challenges related to the State’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and corresponding restrictions on sit-in dining services, Startup 425 has created a map that captures takeout dining options for the entire eastside vicinity. Click the map below or visit the Startup 425 Restaurants and Cafés webpage for more information.

If you are a restaurant owner that would like to be added to the map, or a happy customer who would like add your favorite takeout spot to the map, fill out this form.

What is Startup 425? Startup 425 is an alliance of five cities that helps entrepreneurs transform their ideas into working, successful businesses. This regional sparkplug for entrepreneurship is administered by the City of Kirkland, and enjoys participation from Renton, Bellevue, Redmond and Issaquah. For more information about Startup 425, visit the webpage.

Startup 425 Map image

Cancelled Events

Because physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the following events are cancelled:

ORCA Card Service
Wednesday, April 15, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 
Kirkland City Hall
For more information, visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/fares-orca/neighborhood-pop-up.aspx

Recycling Collection Event
Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
11605 132nd Ave. N.E.
For more information, visit: https://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Public_Works/solidwaste.htm

The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
All Chamber events through May 21 are cancelled
For more information, visit: https://kirklandchamber.org/

Kirkland Performance Center
All Kirkland Performance Center shows through April 30 are postponed
For more information, visit: http://www.kpcenter.org