No COVID-19 Event Limitations Yet In Spokane, But Mayor Warns They May Be Coming

Mar 11, 2020

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward briefed reporters on how the city is responding to coronavirus-related events.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward says, even though Spokane County does not yet have a confirmed case of coronavirus, it’s time for people to practice prevention.

“We are urging everyone in the Spokane community to take immediate steps to practice social distancing," Woodward said.

"That includes maximizing telecommuting options, embedding social distancing into organizations by postponing non-time sensitive meetings or conducting them virtually, and minimizing the chances of exposure to anyone with weakened or compromised immune systems," she said.

The mayor held a press conference this afternoon [Wednesday] to announce she has been briefed by federal and state officials. She is not yet declaring a local emergency or imposing limitations regarding public social events, such as those issued by Governor Jay Inslee regarding events in the Puget Sound area. But she says that could change any time.

Spokane Regional Health Officer Bob Lutz says local officials are considering major events on a case-by-case basis.

“Today, after consultation with colleagues at the state Department of Health, we recommended this weekend’s Washington middle school basketball championship, to be held at the Spokane Convention Center, be cancelled due to the number of attendees who would be traveling from high risk regions in our state," Lutz said. "Other events, such as this weekend’s Spokane Chiefs hockey game at the Spokane Arena, will continue.”

The NCAA also announced that its men’s regional basketball tournament, to be held at the Arena next Thursday and Saturday, will be played, but not opened up to fans. Fans who bought their tickets for that can get refunds through their ticket outlets.

Woodward says the city is offering guidance to its own employees.

“Avoid unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone non-essential meetings, conferences, workshops and training sessions. Work from home or work variable hours to avoid crowding at any one workplace. If a face-to-face meeting with people is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choosing a larger meeting room and to sit at least six feet away from each other. Avoid shaking hands and hugging," she said.