Updates on the Port’s COVID-19 Response

August 6, 2020 Maritime Safety News

The Port of Seattle has been responding to the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) since late January after public health officials confirmed the first case of the virus in the United States in Washington state.

Since then the Port implemented protocols to maintain the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, travelers, and community members who use Port facilities while maintaining the essential functions of the Port.

The Port of Seattle supports efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining essential operations. In response to Governor Jay Inslee’s “stay at home” order issued on March 23, 2020, Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck made the following comment: “Critical Port facilities and operations are still open. We are doing everything we can to support those staying home while keeping Port facilities safe for those who do essential work.”

Travelers should check with their airline for specific flight information. The Port of Seattle will update its response pages if an employee or contractor working in a public-facing role tests positive for COVID-19.


  • The Port Commission updated its 2020 construction plans to boost local COVID-19 economic recovery through project spending and hiring while enacting public health protocols developed with guidance from state and federal agencies.
  • The Port will provide rent relief for qualifying business tenants and customers throughout its maritime and landside properties, which include office, retail, and restaurants, along with recreational and commercial moorage.
  • On April 1, 2020, the Port of Seattle Commission approved an immediate, short-term emergency financial relief package for airport-based businesses, barred evictions of tenants at Port of Seattle facilities (including live-aboard residents) due to an inability to pay rent through June 30, 2020.
  • June 25, 2020, the Port committed an additional $3 million to community benefit programs to aid COVID-19 recovery, which will go to short-term, youth employment and tourism recovery programs that strengthen Port-related industries, create jobs, and spur spending in the regional economy.
  • The Port is partnering with five local non-profit organizations as part of its effort to save youth jobs for the summer and beyond.  The Port’s Opportunity Initiative aims to provide summer jobs for 220 youth, ages 16 to 24, who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is open and operating to provide an essential service to the public. We made operational adjustments at SEA in response to COVID-19 as part of FlyHealthy@SEA.
  • Face coverings or masks are required for all passengers, visitors, and airport workers. Please wear face coverings or masks over your mouth and nose. This is consistent with the requirement in Washington state, as well as the policies of our airline partners that are requiring passengers to wear face coverings. For more details including applicable exceptions, read the Port’s policy.
  • Airport travel is different, but know what you can do to prepare. For many travelers, this will be the first trip through the airport after several months. Be ready with FlyHealthy@SEA virtual tour video and these travel tips.
  • We currently anticipate a 61 percent drop in passenger volume for this year compared to 2019. Explore our public dashboard to provide local governments and industries with key indicators each week to track the recovery at the airport.
  • Read SEA Airport status updates and COVID-19 FAQs for more information.

The Port, public health organizations, and federal partners are taking the following actions to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep travelers and employees safe:

At Maritime Facilities

  • We thank our cruise partners for recognizing the severity of the COVID-19 health crisis and making the difficult decisions to cancel cruises. We look forward to welcoming cruise passengers back to Seattle, once health authorities declare this crisis over, and we can provide safe facilities necessary for operations.
  • Shilshole Bay Marina (SBM) has implemented the following measures to support the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order. Non-liveaboard moorage customers should only visit the SBM if your trip is essential. For more details, read the SBM COVID-19 Operations Update.
  • Commercial fishing facilities are essential and will remain open to provide moorage, infrastructure, storage, and equipment services to the Commercial Fishing Fleets at Terminal 91 and Fishermen’s Terminal during COVID-19.
    • Some businesses at Fisherman’s Terminal are open and operating under proper protocols while the North Pacific Fishing Fleet prepares for the fishing season. For more details, read the Fisherman Terminal COVID-19 Operations Update.
  • The parking lots at Jack Block, Terminal 107, and Terminal 105 parks are open. For reminders on what’s open, closed, and best practices if you plan to visit maritime parks and marinas, please read the Safe and Healthy On Shore and Off blog.
  • Daily enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus at Port maritime and marine maintenance facilities including:
    • Providing hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes for self-cleaning of desks, shops, Port vehicles
    • Disinfecting high-touch surfaces and floors throughout facilities, including kitchens, handrails, doorknobs, offices, conference rooms, and restrooms
  • The CDC is the main federal response agency for maritime vessels. The United States Coast Guard has forwarded precautionary information to vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders.
  • The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Washington state ports are in communication with each other and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) through the USCG Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC), which was established to be prepared for events such as this.

For Employees and Community Partners

The Port is working to minimize the spread of coronavirus and keep employees at our facilities informed by:

  • Optimizing telework for our Port workforce.
  • Creating public videos about COVID-19 response and making them available to all airport employees via YouTube.
  • Printing a COVID-19 fact sheet for airport employees, translated into multiple languages.
  • Reviewing large gatherings, events, celebrations, or tours scheduled to occur on Port properties.
  • Hosting Port of Seattle Commission meetings virtually until the public health crisis subsides.
  • We are adjusting our Port Commission meeting public comment protocol due to the Governor’s ‘Stay at Home’ order. There will be no physical location and the Port will not accept in-person, verbal comments during meetings. Those wishing to provide public comment will have the opportunity to:
    • Deliver public comments via email: All written comments received by email to commission-public-records@portseattle.org will be distributed to Commissioner and attached to the approved minutes.
    • Deliver public comment via phone or Skype for Business conference: To take advantage of this option, please email commission-public-records@portseattle.org with your name and the topic you wish to speak to by 9:00 a.m. PT on Tuesday, June 9. You will then be provided with a link to join the Skype meeting.

How You Can Stay Healthy

Public health officials recommend personal hygiene and frequent hand washing as the best way to prevent illness.

  • Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you are traveling overseas, follow the CDC’s guidance.
  • Check-in with your airline if you have questions about your travel itinerary.


Information on COVID-19 is updated frequently; check the following resources for the most up-to-date information:


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