June 9, 2020

Darby Cowles, Senior Planner Planning and Community Development
City of Bellingham

City of Bellingham Assists Businesses with Green Cone Program, New Uses of Streets and Pedestrian Plazas

As Whatcom County begins Phase 2, the City of Bellingham is promoting several programs to support businesses as they respond to changing COVID-19 restrictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted retailers and restaurateurs throughout the country and in our community, forcing businesses to adapt by offering curbside delivery and pick-up, online services, and other creative ways to follow new health protocols. 

“With economic recovery a top priority, we are working with businesses and considering proposals they may have that are supportive of their activities resuming," Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “We want to take steps that are welcome and supportive. They are experiencing an enormous amount of stress, and demonstrating amazing ingenuity, as they are adapting to changing health restrictions. We are doing everything we can to help expand their economic opportunities while they observe health and safety protocols."

Green Means “go” As Whatcom County Businesses Open For Phase 2

Green Means “Go" to Downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven Businesses - Look for Cones

Beginning this week (June 8-12, 2020), bright green cones downtown and Fairhaven will clearly indicate to visitors which businesses in these districts are open and ready for businesses.

The City of Bellingham purchased 200 green cones that are being distributed by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership and Historic Fairhaven Association to celebrate and promote businesses in the districts that are open or offering curbside, delivery or online products. 

Participating businesses place the cones curbside during operating hours so customers can see at a glance which businesses are open.

"Fairhaven is not closed, we are open for business," Scott Ward, executive director of the Historic Fairhaven Association, said. “As we move into Phase 2, the Green Cone program is an exciting way to show which Fairhaven businesses are open in a safe and responsible way."

“We're excited about participating in the Green Cone program with Fairhaven now that Phase 2 is underway," Downtown Bellingham Partnership executive director Alice Clark said. “It's a great way to easily show which businesses are open and ready for customers to return."

For more information or to participate in the Green Cone program, contact:

Business uses of streets, sidewalks and parking areas

Phase 2 reopening guidelines include restrictions on the number of customers and spacing of tables inside businesses. Those that require additional space to reopen can consider use of the abutting sidewalk, parking stall, or street for commercial purposes under the City's existing  temporary right of way use permit

Examples of how businesses might use public spaces include using sidewalk space for outdoor seating or using parking spaces for take-out pick-up or drop-off. 

For information about temporary right of way use permits, contact the City's Permit Center.

Full Block Closures and Pedestrian Plazas

City staff also are working with businesses and district representatives on locations where full block closures, pedestrian plazas, and other more extended uses of City streets might be welcome and helpful for surrounding businesses. 

Proposals are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for circulation and transportation impacts, level of support from neighboring businesses, and alignment with other city goals. Those that are interested in applying are encouraged to contact the City to review the specific details of their location.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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