The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted retailers and restaurateurs throughout the country and in our community, forcing businesses to adapt by offering curbside delivery and pick-up, online services, and other creative ways to follow new health protocols.
As Whatcom County begins Phase 2, several programs are being promoted to support Bellingham businesses as they respond to changing COVID-19 restrictions.
“With economic recovery a top priority, we are working with businesses and considering proposals they may have that are supportive of their activities resuming,” Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “We want to take steps that are welcome and supportive. They are experiencing an enormous amount of stress, and demonstrating amazing ingenuity, as they are adapting to changing health restrictions. We are doing everything we can to help expand their economic opportunities while they observe health and safety protocols.”
Green means “go”
Beginning this week (June 8-12, 2020), bright green cones downtown and Fairhaven will clearly indicate to visitors which businesses in these districts are open and ready for businesses.
The City of Bellingham purchased 200 green cones that are being distributed by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership and Historic Fairhaven Association to celebrate and promote businesses in the districts that are open or offering curbside, delivery or online products.
Participating businesses place the cones curbside during operating hours so customers can see at a glance which businesses are open.
“Fairhaven is not closed, we are open for business,” Scott Ward, executive director of the Historic Fairhaven Association, said. “As we move into Phase 2, the Green Cone program is an exciting way to show which Fairhaven businesses are open in a safe and responsible way.”
“We’re excited about participating in the Green Cone program with Fairhaven now that Phase 2 is underway,” Downtown Bellingham Partnership executive director Alice Clark said. “It’s a great way to easily show which businesses are open and ready for customers to return.”
For more information or to participate in the Green Cone program, contact:
- Jennifer Walters, Retail Advocate, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scott Ward, Executive Director, Historic Fairhaven Association, email@example.com
Business uses of streets, sidewalks and parking areas
Phase 2 reopening guidelines include restrictions on the number of customers and spacing of tables inside businesses. Those that require additional space to reopen can consider use of the abutting sidewalk, parking stall, or street for commercial purposes under the City’s existing temporary right of way use permit.
Examples of how businesses might use public spaces include using sidewalk space for outdoor seating or using parking spaces for take-out pick-up or drop-off.
City staff also are working with businesses and district representatives on locations where full block closures, pedestrian plazas, and other more extended uses of City streets might be welcome and helpful for surrounding businesses.
Proposals are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for circulation and transportation impacts, level of support from neighboring businesses, and alignment with other city goals. Those that are interested in applying are encouraged to contact the City to review the specific details of their location.