City COVID-19 Updates

Local emergency proclamation ending October 31, City Council votes to resume in-person meetings October 3 with remote access option offered. (September 2022)

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced September 26, 2022, that he is lifting his proclamation of local emergency, first enacted in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, effective on October 31, 2022. The timing is intended to coincide with the expiration of Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide emergency order, which ends the same day.

The Bellingham City Council voted on September 26, 2022, to resume meeting in person for its October 3, 2022, meetings while continuing to offer remote access options.

All public meetings must provide in-person options after October 31, 2022; some may offer remote options as well. These decisions will be made in the weeks ahead. Check individual meeting listings on the City’s events calendar for details.

Full announcement: Mayor announces local COVID-19 emergency proclamation ending October 31

Masks recommended, not required, in City facilities (March 2022)

Consistent with Governor Jay Inslee removing many mask requirements statewide, face masks are now optional in City facilities for fully vaccinated individuals. While not required, the CDC recommends unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks. Social distancing and other health recommendations remain in place.

Additional information about the Governor’s COVID-19 mandates, along with additional health guidance, can be found on the Governor’s Office website and Whatcom County Health Department website.

Some City services remain limited. For information about the availability of specific services, check the City website, the News page, and City Social Media pages for updates. Contact City departments individually for information on how to access services they provide, using the City Contacts webpage.

City adjusts services in light of COVID-19 surge (January 2022)

The City is adjusting some City operations due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, as City officials prioritize essential services and the safety of employees and the public.

For information about the availability of specific services, check the City website, the News page, and City Social Media pages for updates. Contact City departments individually for information on how to access services they provide, using the City Contacts webpage.

See “City adjusts some services due to surge in COVID-19 cases” on the News page.

In-person services remain limited, most meetings remain online (December 2021)

In light of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant locally and nationwide, City officials are continuing online meetings and services, offering limited in-person services at City Hall, and considering when to resume full in-person services.

Most City meetings, including Bellingham City Council and all City boards and commissions, continue to be held via online meeting platforms. Check the City Events Calendar for information, or contact the responsible department using the City Contacts page for more information.

Check our News and City Social Media pages for further updates, and please contact each City department for information on how to access services they provide, using the list below and on the City Contacts page.

Mayor’s vaccine requirement (September 2021)

In addition to Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccine and face covering requirements (see section below), Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood enacted a requirement that obtaining vaccines is a condition of employment, as well as volunteer service and new contracts, with the City of Bellingham. Details described here: Mayor requires COVID-19 vaccine as condition of City employment

Governor’s mask and vaccine requirement (August 2021)

In light of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases — specifically Delta variant cases – in our community and across the country, Governor Jay Inslee updated and extended two emergency proclamations that expand vaccine requirements and statewide face covering requirements.  The expanded emergency orders are:  Proclamations 20-25, Washington Ready; and 21-14, Vaccination Requirement

The Governor’s orders require masks be worn indoors by all employees and visitors to City facilities, regardless of vaccine status. These requirements replaced the City’s requirement to resume using face coverings in public spaces, which became effective 8/4/2021. Additional information about the Governor’s COVID-19 mandates, along with additional health guidance, can be found on the Governor’s Office website and Whatcom County Health Department website.

Additional decisions made in light of skyrocketing local cases of COVID-19:

  • A previously announced post-Labor Day return to fully staffed in-person services has now been postponed until at least October 18.
  • Plans to consider resuming in-person meetings of the Bellingham City Council and various City boards and commissions are now on hold indefinitely.

City officials are committed to a safe work environment for all employees and visitors and will continue to adapt policies and expectations as conditions evolve. Thank you for your patience and commitment to City services during these dynamic and continued challenging times.

Some in-person services resume (June 2021)

Some in-person City services resumed beginning June 30, 2021, including in-person services during limited hours at the Permit Center, Finance Department, and Parks Department at Bellingham City Hall. The Bellingham Municipal Court resumed some in-person hearings beginning July 13, 2021. For details, see the news releases below:

These plans are consistent with Governor Jay Inslee’s directives for statewide reopening and consistent with guidance from state and local health officials, the Governor’s Office, and the state Department of Labor and Industries.

Many City meetings, including Bellingham City Council and all City boards and commissions, continue to be held via online meeting platforms. Check the City Events Calendar for information, or contact the responsible department using the list above for more information.

Check our News and City Social Media pages for further updates, and please contact each City department for information on how to access services they provide:

City Attorney

City Council Office

Finance

Fire and Emergency Medical Services

Hearing Examiner

Human Resources

Information Technology

Library

Mayor’s Office

Municipal Court

Parks and Recreation

Planning and Community Development

Police

Public Works

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