Seattle’s COVID emergency declaration ends after October 31

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Seattle – Today Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that the City of Seattle is preparing for the next chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic and plans to officially end its declaration of a civil emergency after 10/31/22. This change is consistent with the decision by Washington State and Governor Inslee to end the statewide state of emergency on the same date.

“Our city has been operating under a declaration of emergency for nearly 1,000 days as we respond to a new pandemic and the unprecedented challenges it has brought.” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “While the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt by our neighbors and communities, it is thanks to our city’s strong response – including our high immunization coverage and strong health care system – that we can continue to move toward recovery and revitalization.” We will continue to follow the advice of public health experts and leading scientists to support the safety and well-being of our communities.”

Beginning November 1, some of the temporary systems and exemptions introduced during the pandemic will be removed and others will be phased out over time. City departments are informing stakeholders about upcoming changes, working with working partners and working to identify temporary measures that should be made permanent.

Examples of policies/programs affected by this change:

  • Commercial tenants: The obligation for property owners to negotiate payment plans to limit evictions and limitations on commercial tenants’ personal liability expires six months after the end of the emergency declaration.
  • Grocery Delivery: Bonus payment for grocery delivery network Gig workers established by regulation will end on November 1, 2022.
  • Sick leave: Paid sick leave for food delivery and transportation network gig workers ends six months after the end of the declaration of emergency. From January 1, 2023, transport network drivers will be entitled to sick leave under a new state law.

Examples of policies/programs not affected by this change:

  • Sidewalk Cafes: Temporary Safe Street permits for al fresco dining, retail and more have previously been extended and currently expire on January 31, 2023
  • Vaccines and Masks: The city’s COVID-19 immunization mandate for employees, volunteers, and contractors remains in effect. Masks will still be available at city construction sites and may be worn by staff or visitors but are not required.

The city is currently reviewing design review and historical review policies to identify improvements that should be made permanent.

The city will remain vigilant for future waves and variants, and will continue to share information, update contingency plans, and work closely with federal, state, and local health professionals. For more information on COVID-19, including how to get the latest booster, visit Public Health – Seattle & King County.

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