COVID-19 Coronavirus Information Updates
Allegiant Air will resume service to BLI on June 4, with flights to Los Angeles and Las Vegas and ramping up June 5 with service to Las Vegas Palm Springs, Oakland, Phoenix, and San Diego. The schedule for June shows Mondays and Fridays as the most heavily served with 5 daily flights and Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays with two, three, and two flights respectively.
The U.S.- Canada border will remain closed to non-essential travel through June 21.
Alaska Marine Highway MV Kennicott will resume service in late June, returning to Bellingham Cruise Terminal on Saturday, June 27, with scheduled Alaska ferry service-every- other Saturday through September. MV Matanuska will resume Alaska ferry service from Bellingham on July 3, and continue weekly Friday service through September.
Whatcom County, which includes Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine, Birch Bay, Point Roberts, Lummi Island, Lynden, Sumas, Everson, Nooksack, Deming and Glacier, is currently in Phase 1 of Washington State’s Safe Start re-opening plan. Some outdoor recreation is allowed, but the public is asked to stay close to home. Restaurants may offer take-out and retail may offer curbside pick-up orders only.
Outdoor Recreation Updates
Some outdoor recreation near Bellingham is open with appropriate safety precautions, including: fishing; hunting; boating; playing golf; and day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) areas. Public gatherings, events, team sports and camping, among other things, are not resuming at this time. The City of Bellingham has asked the public to recreate responsibly with social distancing in order to keep our parks open.
The following Washington State public lands near Bellingham are now open:
- Larrabee State Park is open for day use only.
- Birch Bay State park is open for day use only.
- Peace Arch Historical State Park is open for day use only.
- Blanchard Mountain (DNR) is open. Restrooms are open. This includes the following recreation sites for day use only: Blanchard Lower Trailhead, Blanchard Upper Trailhead, Samish Overlook, Lily Lake, Lizard Lake, and Les Hilde Trailhead.
- The following DNR Natural Areas are open. Restrooms are closed. This includes Cypress Island, Point Doughty, Lummi Island, Cattle Point, Griffin Bay, Upright Channel, and Morning Star: Access to all facilities, snow levels permitting.
- On May 5, all WDFW freshwater fisheries opened under permanent rules, as did Puget Sound saltwater fisheries (Marine Areas 5-13), except for halibut, shrimp, and intertidal shellfish. Coastal saltwater (Marine Areas 1-4) fishing and shellfish harvesting remain closed.
- Wildlife areas & water access areas: WDFW wildlife areas and boat ramps opened May 5 for day-use only recreation.
- On May 22, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest began a phased reopening of trailheads and day-use areas. Restrooms remain closed. Garbage and water service are unavailable.
- Camping: All camping and overnight accommodations on state and national lands remain closed until Whatcom County moves into Phase 2.
The public is asked to #RecreateResponsibly under these guidelines:
- Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit in advance. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a plan B.
- Plan Ahead: Prepare for facilities (such as restrooms) to be closed, pack your own lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer, gloves, a face covering (and a bag for your own waste items).
- Stay Close to Home: This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. Most places are only open for day use.
- Practice Physical Distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home. Gatherings of any size are not allowed.
- Play It Safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
- Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities and take all your garbage with you.
Wear Face Masks and Social Distance 6 Feet Apart
Effective Friday, May 22, Whatcom County Health Officer Dr. Greg Stern has issued a directive for those in public places and shared workspaces to wear cloth face masks. Public spaces in which masks should be worn include stores that sell food and beverages; retail stores; restaurant take-out and food businesses; public transportation; and manufacturing, agriculture, and construction workplaces. The directive also applies in outdoor settings such as parks or trails where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between non-household members.
Restaurants, Bars, Entertainment Venues
In Phase 1, restaurants are allowed to provide take-out and delivery services, but no in-person dining is permitted. Bars and entertainment venues remain closed.
Visit Bellingham has prepared a list of Restaurants Offering Take Out, Curbside Pickup and Delivery in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
Bellingham and Whatcom County Update
- Our visitor information centers are temporarily closed. If you need visitor information, please email email@example.com. Full visitor information is at Bellingham.org
- Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced Friday, April 24, 2020, he has signed an order canceling all City-permitted events and facility reservations for the summer (PDF), as part of county-wide efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood issued a video urging all Bellingham residents to Stay Home.
- Whatcom County Health Director, Erika Lautenbach has recommended that all 2020 summer events in Bellingham and Whatcom County should be cancelled – including parades, community festivals and fireworks displays through Aug. 31.
- A single-source information and communication tool on behalf of the Whatcom County’s Unified Command Response to COVID-19 is now available online.
- The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is providing daily updates of its 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case information based on disease surveillance activities. Current and total numbers of persons under public health supervision, persons under investigation, and confirmed cases are updated daily at https://whatcomcounty.us/ncov.
- On March 10, 2020 Whatcom County announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 and Satpal Sidhu, the Whatcom County Executive, in coordination with the Whatcom County Health Board, declared a Whatcom County public health emergency to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community, view full release here: Whatcom County Emergency Declaration and New Recommendations.
- The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is reminding the public to take steps to protect their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
- Western Washington University will begin spring quarter classes on Monday, April 6. All classes will be taught remotely for the full spring quarter. All on campus visit programs, tours and information sessions have been suspended. WWU has implemented a Coronavirus Information page for regular updates.
- Most public events in Bellingham and Whatcom County have been cancelled through the end of August.
- Whatcom County Parks and Trails remain open, although many parks facilities are closed. Updates are on the Whatcom Parks & Recreation website.
- City of Bellingham has closed outdoor playgrounds, sports fields, fenced dog areas, bike parks, disc golf course and skate park. Parks and trails remain open.
- Port of Bellingham has closed its playgrounds, bike park, workout stations and the picnic shelter at Marine Park.
- City of Ferndale Parks are closed.
- Lummi Island Ferry has reduced service by switching to its dry dock schedule.
- Sign up for Whatcom County public alerts here
Everyone should take simple steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cough and sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, then throw away the tissue.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you or a family member is sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces.
Alaska Marine Highway ferry service to Bellingham, WA, will be delayed until June 27 due to multiple challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis and the reduced need for travel at this time. Update Alaska Ferry schedule information is at: ferryalaska.com.
Washington State Updates
- The following Washington State counties have moved into Phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, and Whitman.
- Washington State’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy expired on May 31. Washington State Coronavirus Response website.
- Washington State Dept of Health recommends all people wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Details here.
- On April 13, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future. Read: joint statement from the governors.
- In Washington State, 92 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in people age 60 and over. People of any age can get COVID-19. In fact, 65 percent of the people who have tested positive in Washington are younger than 60. Most cases are mild, but, people age 60 and older are at higher risk of getting very sick or dying if they get COVID-19. If you are age 60 or older, it is very important that you stay home and take care of yourself. Read more in the Department of Health’s daily blog.
- Washington State Department of Health maintains the current status of COVID-19 in WA State on its website, with updated numbers by county. The Dept. has also established a call center to answer questions from the pubic. Call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
- Seattle and Kirkland are located in King County. Updated information about COVID-19 cases is on the King County Health Department website.
- Snohomish County and the City of Everett are located north of King County. Updated information about COVID-19 is on the Snohomish County website.
- Updated information from Visit Seattle is available here.
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): Traveler updates are available on the Port of Seattle’s website.
- A message from WA Dept of Commerce about Covid-19 business preparedness.
- King County’s printable Planning for Coronavirus Pandemic: A guide for businesses and organizations.
- Amtrak trains have suspended service north of Seattle until further notice.
- The Washington State Ferries call center is operating with limited service beginning Monday, March 23, when agents will begin working remotely based on COVID-19 health recommendations. However, agents will not have the ability to take credit card numbers over the phone, so they will not be able to make reservations or assist customers with ticket purchases. Customers can still call 206-464-6400 to speak with an agent or receive automated schedule and fare information. However, vehicle reservations will need to be made, changed or cancelled online. Refund requests can also be submitted online, and customers are highly encouraged to do so. Customers may also experience longer than normal hold times depending on call volumes.
- Camping on Washington State lands is temporarily closed.
United States Updates
- On March 11, 2020 President Trump signed a proclamation that restricts travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in certain European countries. This does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Read the full text of the proclamation here.
- On March 14, 2020 President Trump signed a proclamation that restricts travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Read the full text of the proclamation here.
- On March 16, 2020 President Trump recommended the public not hold gatherings of more than 10 people.
- The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of Level 4 Travel Advisories to several countries.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Warning Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel to several countries.
- The U.S. Travel Association encourages travelers and the U.S. travel industry to monitor and follow guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (links and industry updates on the U.S. Travel Association web site).
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the U.S.- Canada border will remain closed to non-essential travel through June 21.
- Additional information is on the Destination British Columbia website.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus around the world. For our local community, as well as for our valued travelers to Bellingham and Whatcom County, we have prepared this Travel Advisory to share the latest and continuously updated information from Whatcom County health officials, the Washington State Department of Health, the US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and many other state, national and international agencies, as well as local business and activity updates.