March 15 COVID-19 Update: PNA Closure
From: Dar’Nesha Weary, Executive Director
Over the course of the past few weeks, the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s COVID-19 crisis management team has been daily monitoring and responding to the quickly evolving information and guidance regarding novel coronavirus in the Pacific Northwest. We have consulted the Center for Disease Control, Seattle-King County Public Health, and the Seattle Public Schools to review recommendations and have daily reassessed those recommendations in light of our threat matrices. We have also been in regular contact with members of our community and administrators at other local community centers, senior centers, Village service providers, and preschools.
While the Phinney Neighborhood Association does not have a current confirmed case of COVID-19, the Phinney Center will close to the public through Tuesday, March 31, and the Greenwood Senior Center will be closed to the public through Monday, April 13.
WHY WE ARE MAKING THIS DECISION NOW?
We are making this decision out of an abundance of caution and care for the entire PNA community. This decision was not made lightly nor was it made in haste. It was informed by multiple priorities, including:
- Protecting the health and safety of our community
- Protecting higher risk employees, volunteers, and class/program students and attendees
- Government prohibition of all any gathering unless with stringent health screening process.
- A desire to love our neighbors in the broader community by slowing the spread of COVID-19 through reducing social contact
Over the past seven days, Governor Jay Inslee announced new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. These include: a prohibition of gatherings of more than 250 people, a prohibition on events with fewer than 250 people if they don’t meet public health guidance on health screening, social distancing and hygiene, and the mandatory closure of all schools through April 24. The Seattle Public Library and the City of Seattle have also closed all libraries, community centers, pools, environmental learning centers, and all other recreation facilities to the public, with the exception for preschool programs and hygiene services at select locations.
In our judgment, stopping our service and operations is currently the best course of action for our participants, our volunteers, our staff and families, our preschool students and faculty, our renters, and the broader community. We will evaluate the situation regularly and consult with public health officials to determine if the Phinney Center will remain closed beyond March 31 and the GSC beyond April 13.
I recognize the various impacts this decision will have to our families and community. Please know this is a difficult and complex decision, and not one we have made lightly, and I thank you for your patience and grace as we work through this together as a community.
HOW THIS WILL WORK?
We are committed to providing the best possible continuity of services in this challenging circumstance and request your support and partnership in this endeavor. Please note: Any event or operational changes will be announced via email and on our website.
- The Phinney Center will be closed to the public, beginning Monday, March 16 through at least Tuesday, March 31.
- The Greenwood Senior Center will be closed to the public, beginning Monday, March 16 through at least Monday, April 13.
- All facilities rental services will cease operations beginning Monday, March 16 through the respective closure dates of Phinney Center and Greenwood Senior Center.
- All PNA cooperative preschools are closed through at least Monday, April 27.
- PNA Village will continue services based on volunteer availability and strict adherence to public health mandatory measures and social distancing guidelines where applicable.
- The PNA staff will be working remotely beginning Monday, March 16; email is the best way to reach us:
- All PNA programming and events are canceled through Monday, April 27. These cancellations include all support groups and programming at the Greenwood Senior Center, the April New Member Orientation, Reuben’s Brew’s Thank You Thursday, the March and April Bingo Karaokes, and the April 25 PNA Annual Auction.
We recognize these cancellations will be deeply disappointing to all who have been looking forward to the activities and the staff who have been working hard to prepare, but we need to prioritize everyone’s long-term health and safety. We will update everyone about the restart of the events and programs as soon as we can, and more information will be shared in the coming weeks.
Look for additional emails in the next several days, outlining the specific service disruption details and refund policies for canceled events and services. resources for affected individuals, families and businesses.
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES, INDIVIDUALS & BUSINESSES
The State of Washington is offering COVID-19 resources for businesses, workers, students, and families to support economic retention and recovery related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
PNA COVID-19 INFO PAGE
We continue to update the PNA community with up-to-date to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic. Our COVID-19 Information is connected to various national, state, county, and city resource pages, as well as PNA’s latest announcements.
WORKERS & BUSINESSES
The Employment Security Department has expanded benefits to workers impacted by COVID-19. See who qualifies for specific benefits. For quarantined healthcare workers and first responders, apply for industrial insurance through L&I. Review available financial and tax relief resources for impacted businesses.
The State has mandated all Washington health insurers to waive deductibles and co-pays for COVID-19 testing. For information related to health insurance, special enrollment for the uninsured, travel insurance, and business insurance, please visit the resource page from the Office of Insurance Commissioner.
FOR FAMILIES WITH SPS STUDENTS
Beginning on Monday, March 16, the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will be distributing lunches at 26 school sites from 11 am to 1 pm every weekday for students that depend on food services in the SPS schools. Food distribution centers in northwest Seattle include Ballard High School, Broadview-Thomson, and Robert Eagle Staff Middle School. For full list and specific directions on where to pick up at each school, please visit SPS Family Resources for COVID-19.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
ELIMINATE STIGMA. I want to take a moment to reiterate that the COVID-19 is not specific to any race, nationality, ethnicity, economic situation, or any jurisdictional borders. Misinformation has created fear and hostility that is impacting many of our neighbors experiencing inequities, particularly our Chinese-American and other Asian-American communities, as well as the undocumented and unsheltered population. We can stop stigma by sharing accurate information, speaking up against misinformation or harassment, and showing compassion and supporting for those most closely impacted. Bigotry is not acceptable in our community.
E-GIFT CARD DRIVE. We now are collecting gift cards in increments of $25 for grocery stores and drug stores that will be distributed to most vulnerable individuals and families in our community. We look to partner with meal service providers and organizations serving those most in need for distribution in the coming days. Suggested options are for Kroger/Fred Meyer/QFC, Safeway, Ken’s Market (online, in store), Grocery Outlet, Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, and Bartell Drugs (online, in-store). E-gift cards are preferred and can be emailed to [email protected]. Physical gift cards can be mailed to us at 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103; drop off is not permitted due to the building closure.
Our world is changing by the hour, and the effects of closures and cancellations are having a devastating impact on the PNA and the programs and services that we offer to the community. We will be reaching out in the coming days with more information and how to help the PNA community continue to thrive. Your patience and understanding as we navigate this together is very much appreciated.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
During this time of social distancing, it is important to remember we all have a part to play. Local and state officials, including Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and the Health Officer of Public Health—Seattle & King County Dr. Jeff Duchin have all urged people to consider avoiding events or gatherings of more than 10 people to reduce the risk of catching the virus.
We have undertaken the PNA closure decision with that in mind. Please remember, closures at the PNA or anywhere will not be effective unless they are accompanied by family and individual social distancing strategies. We respectfully request that you manage social interactions with that in mind.