City issues proclamation to lift COVID-19 state of emergency

Mercer Island Mayor Salim Nice and City Manager Jessi Bon co-signed a proclamation on Nov. 18 to end the local COVID-19 state of emergency for city response to impacts of the virus.

Proclamation 300 notes that the jointly issued Proclamation 249 on March 5, 2020, by Bon and then-Mayor Benson Wong — which was, in part, authorized to create local emergency management organizations — “is no longer needed to preserve the public health, safety and welfare” of the city and has been lifted.

On Oct. 31 of this year, the city lifted the Gov. Jay Inslee-issued state of emergency proclamation and subsequent emergency proclamations related to COVID-19 that there was a critical situation in all state counties on Feb. 29, 2020.

In the proclamation issued in 2020, the city noted that the emergency demanded immediate action and it established an Emergency Management Organization to be led by the police chief or designated emergency manager.

Action was necessary to preserve public health, to protect life and public property, and to support local businesses, the recent proclamation reads.

In a Reporter story in November of 2020, Wong noted that, “The challenge created by the pandemic has fostered new opportunities for the city council. These opportunities require us to re-think how we can best serve our community and utilize our limited resources as we emerge together on the other side of this pandemic.”

In recent days, Bon reflected on how the Mercer Island community was involved in a unified effort in stepping up and helping their fellow citizens during the pandemic.

“I’m deeply appreciative of everything our community, partner organizations, city staff, those in healthcare and public health, and our first responders contributed and sacrificed throughout the pandemic. Their kindness and hard work got us to this point, and I’m proud of how our city responded and our community pulled together to support each other these past two years,” she said.

Police Chief Ed Holmes said that copious staff members displayed great attitudes as they assumed new roles and responsibilities when the pandemic hit. He’s proud of the hard work and problem-solving that everyone put forth to steer the city into nimble and responsive mode during the unexpected and uncertain times.

“I was very pleased to see how quickly our teams adapted to the pandemic environment. The city manager’s office worked closely with our Emergency Management team to convert operations into the incident command structure,” Holmes said.

When the police department’s emergency manager Jennifer Franklin reflects on the pandemic, her thoughts turn toward the dedicated and amazing volunteers and their response to the challenging situation, she said.

“Whether it was passing out masks to the public, checking on people that needed supplies, or assisting with vaccination sites, our volunteers really stepped up and went above and beyond to help our community,” Franklin added.