Bus Schedule Changes, Ski to Sea and Tulip Festival Cancelled, Parks and Campgrounds Closed, and a Virtual Art Walk is in the Works!

WTA buses to change service

News to know: WTA is moving to a Saturday level of service Monday through Friday, and Sunday level of service on Saturdays and Sundays. This will result in weekday service that begins later in the morning—at 8 a.m. for most routes and for paratransit. 
WTA General Manager Pete Stark said, “Public transportation is an essential service. Our goal is to continue to provide this service in a manner that is healthy, safe and reliable. We know that lower levels of service could present a hardship for some. However, to keep transit running for the duration of this emergency, this is a necessary step.
“In keeping with Governor Inslee’s order to “Stay Home. Stay Healthy,” WTA urges riders to use the bus for essential trips only, such as picking up groceries or prescriptions, or keeping medical appointments.
WTA’s Zone Service, which provides limited dial-a-ride service to rural communities one or two days per week, will not be reduced at this time. 
All WTA buses will be Fare Free until further notice.
This applies to Fixed Route buses and Paratransit. WTA is prepared to continue to provide public transportation to our community for these essential trips. However, our ability to do so depends on our keeping our transit employees safe and healthy.
Here’s what WTA needs from you:

  • Ride the bus for essential trips only
  • Enter and exit the bus through the back door, unless using the ramp (applies to Fixed Route buses only)
  • Keep at least six feet from our driver and, whenever possible, from other riders
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Stay at home, and do not ride the bus, if experiencing symptoms of an illness
    Questions? Please call 360-676-7433 or visit ridewta.com.

Ski to Sea 2020 Cancelled

The 2020 Ski to Sea race is canceled due to the circumstances associated with the Coronavirus. The Ski to Sea has been an uninterrupted annual celebration of our community’s diverse outdoor recreational opportunities since 1973. Suffice it to say that making the decision to interrupt this tradition of 46 years was difficult and painful. However, cancellation is the only responsible choice given the logistics in preparing for the race, the uncertainty of the ability to safely stage the event on May 24, and the organization’s sensitivity to the financial and potential health impacts to racers.  All teams will be entitled to a full refund of paid registration fees, which will be processed via check. Paid teams should contact us for refund details by calling 360-746-8861 or at skitosea.com
Whatcom Events is a non-profit entity, and the Ski to Sea is made possible largely by sponsors and volunteers. Rest assured that organizers will do everything in our power to resume consecutive annual races in 2021. In order to help ensure that this occurs, they would appreciate it if teams consider opting to decline a refund of registration fees, and instead apply them toward registration fees for the 2021 Ski to Sea race. Or even better, forfeit the refund and consider it a 2020 donation to Whatcom Events.

Tulip Festival Events Cancelled for 2020

Although the tulips in Skagit County may be in bloom next month, in accordance with the governor’s mandate, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival growers have closed their operations to the public. The fields of tulips are also closed to the public. Organizers strongly encourage you to follow the governor’s directive to stay home and stay healthy for everyone involved.
The majority of festival events have been rescheduled or canceled. You can check the website for updated information. 

City Parks Areas Closed

During this health emergency, Bellingham is committed to keeping our parks and trails open and safe for public use. The City of Bellingham Parks & Recreation staff has closed all playgrounds, sport courts, fenced dog areas, bike parks, disc golf course and the skate park to encourage safe social distancing and minimize the spread of the Coronavirus.  The golf course is also ​closed due to the Governor’s order.
Since March 16, staff resources were reorganized to enable two shifts to operate in two zones all around the City, seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. These crews are cleaning and disinfecting park restrooms and frequently touched areas. Park restrooms provide critical sanitation needs for all park visitors, as well as those who are unsheltered in our community. 
All indoor facilities are closed, and water fountains turned off.  Additionally, signage installed over the weekend reminds everyone about safe social distancing in public parks and trails, and to follow the CDC guidelines.  All programs, events and reservations are cancelled through the end of April in City park facilities.
Staff will use tape, signs, locks, cones or other barriers to clearly delineate closures.  Over the next few days, some parking areas will be closed off to help limit the number of people in large parks.
Please refer to the Whatcom County Health Department for additional guidance and updated information regarding our community’s fight against the Coronavirus.  https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19.
For City of Bellingham information on COVID-19 response, see our COVID-19 response page: https://www.cob.org/services/safety/emergencies/Pages/covid-19.aspx.

County Parks Closed

Whatcom County Parks and Recreation campgrounds will remain closed until April 30 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The closure includes all camping and cabin accommodations at both Silver Lake Park and Lighthouse Marine Park.
Current reservations through April 30 will be notified and offered a full refund.
Day-use areas and trails remain open. However, there will be no boat rentals available or concessions for sale.  Visitors should continue to practice social distancing while recreating outdoors.
More information about all Parks and Recreation operational changes can be found at https://www.whatcomcounty.us/2395/Parks-Recreation-COVID-19-Updates.
For additional questions, please call 360-778-5850 or email parks@co.whatcom.wa.us.

State Parks Closed

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks, wildlife areas and water access areas until at least April 1. The closure is in response to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
Entrance gates and facilities will be closed, and on-site public services will be suspended. Essential staff will be present to preserve and protect resources.
Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation lands will remain closed through April 30.
The public can find the latest information about State Parks and WDFW operations at:
Parks: parks.state.wa.us/COVID19 .and wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates

Spark Museum Temporarily Closed

In accordance with Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, 1312 Bay St. and all of SPARK’s programs will remain closed until further notice to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. For details, go to the museum’s website.

Virtual Art Walk in April

In lieu of the monthly in-person Art Walk, artists and makers are creating a virtual, collaborative, shopping experience! Join Downtown Bellingham Partnership in participating in this virtual event to support local artists, galleries and retailers who have been impacted by closures and social distancing. Participants can follow the hashtag #virtualbhamartwalk on Facebook and Instagram to view prints, jewelry, pottery, stickers, paintings and more with the option to purchase items to support local artists and retailers through these uncertain times.
The  Virtual Bellingham Art Walk is from 4 to 8 p.m. April 3, and the public can scroll through posts with the hashtag #virtualbhamartwalk to shop for art and products available for purchase right then from local makers and retailers. Purchases can be made directly with the artist through their preferred platform or on retailer’s websites. Arrangements can also be made directly with artists for shipping or safe dropoff/pickup options.
All artists, makers and businesses are encouraged to participate! The event is free for all. For more information please email lindsey@downtownbellingham.com.

Marrowstone Music Festival Cancelled

After much deliberation, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra leadership and board have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Marrowstone Music Festival. When faced with so many uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with public health at the forefront of our minds, we concluded that the program was not feasible to run this summer.
Organizers have appreciated the welcome, love and support of the Bellingham and Whatcom County community and the look forward to an exciting restart of Marrowstone the summer of 2021.