On Friday, Yakima Mayor Patricia Byers announced that the coronavirus was changing the norm at City Hall.  Here's the news release:

City staff is actively engaged with the Health District, the Yakima County Emergency Management office, and other appropriate organizations and agencies responsible for preparing for and coordinating any necessary response to the COVID-19 virus

Today, representatives of several local venues not owned by the City have announced they have canceled all events until further notice – for instance, all performances at the Seasons Performance Hall are on hold and the Home Show at the SunDome is canceled The city thanks those organizations for their cooperation and understanding during this emergency

It has been decided that all City board, commission, and committee meetings are canceled until further notice

Additionally, the Council’s March 17 regular meeting will be the last to take place publicly during the month of March.

The Council encourages community members that don’t have specific business to discuss at the March 17th meeting not attend the meeting

Specifically, unless you need to participate in the public hearing regarding the Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report, sometimes referred to as the CAPER, the Council encourages you not to attend the March 17 regular meeting.

Gov. Inslee's decison that extends a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more to the entire state, the Health District has recommended that no gatherings of 100 or more people take place in Yakima County until further notice. Accordingly, the City has closed or restricted meeting sizes at City-owned facilities

The Harman Senior Center, the Henry Beauchamp Community Center, the Washington Fruit Community Center are closed – The Capitol Theatre and the Yakima Convention Center have cancelled all events through the end of March

The City has increased cleaning and sanitizing efforts at City facilities, including Yakima

Transit buses, and is making every effort to safeguard the health and well-being of its employees and customers

Signs are being posted at City facilities letting community members know the steps the City is taking to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus – The signs also include personal hygiene tips and information about how community members can take of City business without having to do so in person

City staff is regularly receiving information from the Health District regarding the COVID-19 virus and is sharing that information about the on its various communications platforms

Current information about the COVID-19 virus can be found online on the Yakima County Health District website, the Washington State Department of Health website, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The Health District is encouraging community members are to continue to practice normal protective measures to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, including:
- Stay home if you are sick and keep sick children home from school
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, etc.
- Limit interactions with others and practice social distancing
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces
- Call ahead before going to medical facilities – Do not go to the emergency room unless you are seriously ill
- Practice excellent personal hygiene, including washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.