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Responding to COVID-19

The Office of Arts & Culture and the entire City of Seattle are working round-the-clock to help our communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been several announcements this week from the City, County, and State, and we want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information and public health guidance. 

Earlier this week, the State and County announced new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a prohibition of events with more than 250 people, and a prohibition on events with less than 250 people, if they don’t meet public health guidance on social distancing and hygiene. Researchers are estimating that there are 1,100 active COVID-19 infections in our region. By early April, the region may see 25,000 people infected if no actions are taken.

In accordance with that Public Health guidance, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, the City of Seattle will temporarily rescind permits for City-approved events. These include permits for farmers’ markets, cultural events, and street and sidewalk events like block parties and birthday parties. The rescinding of permits for public events will continue until at least April 13, 2020.  

We recognize that this will have a huge impact on our cultural community and we are committed to doing everything we can to share current information as it becomes available, and provide immediate resources for arts and cultural organizations, community and neighborhood groups, and individual artists. 

Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) released updated public health guidance and recommendations for businesses including retail and restaurants, workplaces, and schools. You can find that guidance below.

New limits on large gatherings, other emergency strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 
(March 11, 2019 – Public Health Insider Blog) 

Business Preparedness and Planning for COVID-19 

The Office of Arts & Culture and other City departments are exploring ways to re-allocate funding resources and leveraging our partnerships with regional philanthropists. We will have more information on that in the coming days. 

This is the beginning of a marathon, not a sprint, and we thank you all for your patience as we take these measures to keep our community safe. This outbreak may be one of the most transformative and consequential events that our region and our country will experience in a very long time. Seattle has come back from the crisis before, and we know that our creative and cultural community are the ones who will open our doors and restore the heart and the economy of our City. 

More information about the new recommendations, mitigation efforts, and ways we can support will be coming in the following days. If you have immediate questions and concerns please contact ARTS at  or 

For up-to-date Public Health – Seattle & King County guidance, visit


Randy Engstrom
Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture