By Jack Mayne
Burien City Manager Brian Wilson told the City Council at its regular session Monday night of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation that orders every resident to stay at home “unless they are pursuing an essential activity.” The essential tasks include shopping for groceries, picking up prescriptions, going to a doctor’s appointment or going to work at an essential business.
The order on the COVID-19 coronavirus also bans all gatherings of people “for social, spiritual and recreational purposes,” including some that are “some of the most deeply meaningful gatherings in our communities, like weddings and funerals.
“These celebrations of life, these important moments to gather with loved ones, must be postponed,” Wilson quoted Inslee’s order.
Only ‘essential business’
“It will close all businesses except essential businesses,” the governor’s order said.
The city manager told the Council that “life will go on” but he reiterated, “Stay home, stay healthy.”
Inslee’s closure order “builds upon the early and unprecedented steps we took to protect Washingtonians, including closure of schools, restaurants, entertainment venues and other businesses where people congregate.”
The gubernatorial order said that home-based work by computer “can and should continue.”
Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains “and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open,” adding the Burien city government “will be discussing in the coming days any enforcement” if city residents don’t comply.
For Burien residents
Wilson said all city departments are operating that are “providing essential services” to Burien citizens.
“Our emergency manager, fire chief and communications officer are participating in several federal, state, regional and local agency coordinations calls to keep abreast of new orders, recommendations and practices in responding to the pandemic.”
Wilson said “there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our fire and police departments and they are using proper processes to protect staff.”
The city staff, where possible, is “implementing remote work schedules” and the city has “imposed relenting remote working and alternating schedules.”
Staff is also continuing to review and issue permits and “prioritizing permits that relate direction to the health crisis.”
Human services, crime
City human services and police are reaching out, said Wilson, to the homeless “in an attempt to find them housing.”
Police have enhanced patrols around closed businesses “to reduce property crime.”
Burien city workers are installing three portable restrooms in the downtown area.
Wilson said the city is “offering a 90-day deferment” on its Business and Occupations tax payments “in order to reduce expenses for businesses during this difficult time.”
Also the city has put together a one page “strategies document” to help businesses deal with the COVID 19 crisis.
Burien city government is creating and publishing contact information about the virus on its own city channels, as well as creating media press releases.
A section on the COVID-19 coronavirus has been placed on the city website (burienwa.gov/covid) and they are working on ways “to provide information in other languages to our residents.”
Also, Wilson told Council the city “is sharing information through our main City of Burien social media channels, as well as our economic development and parks, recreation and cultural channels” such as the city’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites.