4:48 PM: After briefings by Gov. Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine about reopening the economy, it’s now Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s turn. She’s first addressing the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Notes as it goes.
She expresses grief and sympathy, promises continued improvement for SPD – whose Chief Carmen Best is standing behind her – and acknowledges protest plans in this city.
The chief then speaks, saying, “A few days ago, we all watched the tragic murder of George Floyd. .. What really bothers me about this … is that everyone there, including the officers, showed a grave indifference to life.” She says the SPD will support “peaceful protest.” She’s followed by Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “As the mayor and police chief have said, this was wrong.” He adds that SFD has a plan – that he hopes won’t be needed – for responding to fire and other emergencies during protests. The mayor stressed that they’re not expecting violence here, but have to be prepared.
4:57 PM: Now on to the COVID-19 economic reopening and King County’s plan to pursue a “modified Phase 1” reopening. For 12 weeks, she says, Seattle has been “a model for the rest of the country” as well as starting out as “the epicenter of the pandemic.” As reopening begins, she stresses,”we can’t relax all the restrictions simultaneously.” Mask-wearing, distancing, etc., are vital to keep the virus from spreading.
The mayor says she knows business owners and others have lots of questions. She is now taking Q&A from reporters. First: Will the mayor attend any of the George Floyd protests/events? She hasn’t decided yet.
5:10 PM: Most of the other questions have focused on the preparations for expected Seattle demonstrations rather than the reopening.
Regarding outdoor dining space expansion, the mayor says a plan is being worked on right now with multiple departments as well as communities – she says it’s another potential opportunity to “turn the streets” into something community-enhancing.
At 5:14 pm, Durkan wraps up to say that everything was going great until “the bottom fell out” when the pandemic hit, and now it’s time to “build resiliency” and help people, because we are “not out of the woods” – even the George Floyd protests don’t worry her so much for a violence potential as for a virus-spreading potential. “I believe in Seattle, I believe we can come through this (and be) better than we ever were before.”
NOTE: Since the video feed has now gone back to regular Seattle Channel programming, we’re replacing with a screengrab from the briefing until archived video is available.