Mayor temporarily suspends permitted events, places moratorium on evictions (updated)

This afternoon, Mayor Durkan announced two new actions in the city’s ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

First, she announced that the city will suspend all permitted events effective Monday, March 16, until at least April 13. That includes farmers markets, cultural events, and street events such as block parties.  According to her press release, events already permitted will have the opportunity to reschedule without the need to reapply for the permit, and if event organizers choose to cancel instead of rescheduling then the permit fee will be refunded.  Also, season or annual event permits, such as for farmers markets, will have their permits reactivated once the suspension is lifted.

Farmers market vendors impacted by the suspension may apply to the Office of Economic Development for financial assistance, which it expects to be able to deliver within one week of receiving an application.

Second, Durkan announced that she will be issuing an emergency order placing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions in the City of Seattle during the declared COVID-19 emergency. From the press release:

“With the President’s national emergency declaration, I will be taking additional actions in the coming days focused on more relief for our workers and individuals hardest hit by this emergency, including a moratorium on residential evictions. We cannot let individuals lose their homes or go hungry at this critical time. Over the coming days, we will announce more support from the City for individuals and families and be prepared to connect more individuals with other non-profit and philanthropic resources”

UPDATE: here is the moratorium order. It prohibits landlords from issuing notices of eviction, and allows for the moratorium to be used as a defense in any pending evictions. It expires either in 30 days or when the stte of emergency is lifted, whichever is earlier, and suggests that the Mayor may extend the moratorium as necessary.

Separately, this afternoon President Trump declared a national emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This does two important things. First, under the Stafford Act it releases $40 billion to FEMA to help communities respond to the public health emergency. Second, it enables the Department of Health and Human Services to grant flexibility to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in how they provide resources to address the medical needs of their communities — as I explained in my post earlier this week. This will be critical as King County works to meet the increasing demand on local hospitals from COVID-19 cases.