ARLINGTON – The city has made a series of operational changes in line with federal, state and county guidelines encouraging social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The changes are not meant to create fear, but rather to carry out best practices to keep staff and the public safe while continuing to provide essential services and keep key facilities open, city officials said.
“We want all residents to know that we are taking very seriously our role in preventing the spread of the virus,” Mayor Barb Tolbert said. “We regret any inconvenience caused, but our citizens’ health and safety is our first priority.”
Here are the changes:
• Canceling and postponing some city meetings. Check the website calendar regularly at http://www.arlingtonwa.gov/calendar for updates on meeting date changes.
• For critical meetings, limiting participants to required attendance only.
• Canceling reservations for community rooms.
• Adding more cleaning protocols for city facilities.
• Creating a source for information at www.arlingtonwa.gov/coronavirus.
• Offering telecommuting options for employees.
• Daily briefings for city leaders.
• Suspending passport services as of March 16 until further notice.
• Asking customers to pay utility bills online at https://www.xpressbillpay.com/ or by phone at 360-403-3421.
• Encouraging people to call or e-mail questions to create social distance, rather than coming to city hall. Call 360-403-3441 or email email@example.com.
• Restricting access to the lobby of Arlington Police Department. Call 9-1-1 for in-progress emergencies or 425-407-3999 for non-emergencies. Residents may also file no-suspect, non-emergency police reports at www.mycrimereport.us.
• Suspending police department’s Citizen Volunteer Program.
• Halting discretionary fingerprinting. Police will continue to take appointments for Concealed Pistol License fingerprinting with residents.
• Restricting access to Arlington Fire Department stations.
• Increasing Arlington Fire personnel safety protections with increased Body Substance Isolation protocols.
The city is also complying with a March 11 Snohomish Health District order regarding meeting protocols that asks the following:
• Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of serious COVID-19 are encouraged not to attend, including employees.
• Social distancing recommendations to limit contact within 6 feet of each other for 10 minutes or longer.
• Proper hand hygiene and sanitation must be readily available to all attendees and employees
• Environmental cleaning guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed to provide more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces.
• If visitors to city facilities exhibit symptoms, they will be asked and required to leave and not return until they are well.
For those unable to attend a public meeting who would like to provide comment, 360-403-3441, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail a letter to City of Arlington, 238 N. Olympic Ave., Arlington, WA 98223. Communication must be received at least one day prior to the meeting.