On Monday night, Mar. 16, 2020, the Burien City Council issued the following statement on the COVID-19 pandemic:
We are faced with an unprecedented crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to harm our community unless we all work together to stop the spread. While our public health and health care professionals work feverishly to treat those who are sick and stop the spread of COVID-19, the public health measures that have already been taken will have long-term effects on the Burien community for years to come.
As your elected leaders, we are acting swiftly to provide a safe and healthy environment for our residents, and staff are working long hours to coordinate and advocate for the right resources for Burien. In a crisis like this, none of us can go it alone—we must all come together to make it through. For many of our residents, they will be losing wages, and potentially their jobs. Children will lose weeks of learning. The effect on our economy is still being determined.
To help ease the impact of COVID-19, the Burien City Council has approved an immediate allocation of $200,000 from the City’s reserve fund into an emergency fund overseen by the Human Services Commission and City staff. The fund will focus on helping mitigate the harms caused by COVID-19 among our most vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness.
Council also instituted a moratorium on residential tenant evictions for at least the next 30 days. This measure allows people to stay in their homes during the crisis, helping fulfill Public Health’s orders of self-isolation and social distancing.
We also encourage our State, County, and Federal partners to not forget communities like Burien that rely on small, service-based businesses. We will work with our state and federal lobbyists to ensure our needs are heard. But government cannot help alone. We need you, our community, to help. By community, we do not just mean the residents of Burien. We also mean our business community, housing providers, utility providers, local media, and more.
We are encouraging the community to consider the following actions:
- Follow all Public Health orders in order to protect our most high-risk community members.
- Ask our local utility companies to offer utility payment assistance to their customers. Thank you to Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy, and Comcast who have already offered assistance and reduced rates.
- Ask landlords to offer flexibility on rental payments (household and commercial) and work with renters to avoid evictions at this time.
- Encourage everyone to not spread rumors or misinformation. Please only share information from verified sources.
- Encourage businesses to adopt Public Health orders for social distancing as well as protecting employees.
- If you run a business or nonprofit, get creative about ways to change your regular operations to adapt to Public Health orders.
- Encourage our community to continue support local businesses when possible while following Public Health orders. Many restaurants still offer food delivery or take out. Consider buying a gift certificate from a local business.
- If you are able, consider offering childcare, deliver meals, and help your elderly neighbors (from a distance)—this is the time to be a good neighbor.
- Consider donating money to nonprofit organizations in your community. Many had to cancel their spring fundraisers that generate much needed funding to fuel their operations and programming.
We recognize the amazing generosity and can-do spirit our Burien community members are already showing. It is inspiring and heartening. We will get through this as long as we stick together.
- For information about COVID-19, go to kingcounty.gov/covid or burienwa.gov/covid for Burien resources.
- If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you’re a healthcare provider with questions about COVID-19, contact the King County Novel Coronavirus Call Center: (206) 477-3977. The call center will be open daily from 8 a.m.–7 p.m. and includes a language line for multiple languages.
- For general concerns and questions about COVID-19, please call the Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center at 1 (800) 525-0127.