COVID-19 Updates and Resources from the RTA

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) continues to monitor the quickly developing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. 

As our elected leaders and public health officials aggressively work to contain infections, the RTA continues to work as an advisor to travelers and an advocate for regional businesses and the travel industry. We’ve heard from many of our partners in recent days and understand the challenges your business is facing, as well as your need to appropriately advise your customers and clients.


Business Impact Tracking

The RTA is actively tracking the business impact from COVID-19 and would like to know any direct cancellations or other significant impacts. Please send all information to Caitlyn Shearer at


Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers

PDF Cover graphic for Travel in the New NormalThe U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million American jobs, was developed in close collaboration with health and medical professionals, and with organizations throughout the broader travel industry: hotels/resorts, airports, airlines, attractions, restaurants, rental cars, meeting venues, event producers, travel advisors and others. It also builds upon and aligns with the White House and CDC guidelines for "Opening Up America Again."

We will modify the guidance as the public health issue evolves and we will continue to work with medical and health professionals, government officials and travel leaders across the industry to prioritize the health and safety of travelers and travel employees.




Inslee announces statewide restrictions for four-weeks

Updated Nov. 15, 2020 

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country.

  • Read the entire story on the governor's Medium page.
  • The full proclamation is available here.
  • The full guidance page is available here.

The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.

Washington State New Covid Cases Graph Nov. 2020

“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” Inslee said during a press conference Sunday. “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease.”

The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.

To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. In the short term, the state is commuting $20 million be dedicated to cash assistance targeted directly to hardest hit industries. Remaining funds will be focused on supporting recovery efforts through business loans. Additional details are forthcoming.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

The full proclamation is available here.

The full guidance page is available here.

King County Phase 2: What’s Open & What’s Happening?

Updated September 22, 2020  

Governor Inslee reopened Washington State for meetings and events at a capacity of 30% or 200 guests, whichever is less (excluding venue staff). Venues approved to move into a new phase must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen. Welcome back to Seattle Southside!


Safe Start Washington – Phased Reopening County-by-County​
Governor Jay Inslee

Updated August 21, 2020  

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced and updated guidance as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan.

“We have worked with stakeholders for weeks and sometimes months to arrive at these guidelines. We continue to balance the need for activities that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being with the steps needed to control the virus. Our ability to reopen depends on every Washingtonian doing their part to ensure fewer, shorter and safer interactions.” said Inslee. 


These guidelines would allow museums in Phase 2 counties to operate as long as they meet certain requirements. Museums in Phase 3 counties would be required to lower occupancy.

Read the full guidance here.


These guidelines would allow for bowling league play in Phases 2 and 3, as long as facilities meet certain requirements. 

Read the full guidance here.


This guidance would allow for agritourism such as U-pick farms and tree farms to operate in Phase 2 counties. 

Read the full guidance here.

Read the attached memo here

Outdoor Recreation:

Updates to the outdoor recreation guidance clarify restrictions to non-spectator motor-sports in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan. These changes go into effect on August 24. 

Read the full updated guidance here.

Find a full list of current reopening guidance here

Washington State's Phased Approach


Impacted Hotel Operations

While hotels are deemed “essential” in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, the operations of many King County hotels have been severely impacted:


Cruise Industry

  • Canadian authorities have effectively cancelled the rest of the 2020 Alaska cruise season by banning any ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons until October 31, 2020. This suggests that King County will not see any Alaska-bound cruise sailings in 2020 as a result – which would be another devastating blow to our local tourism economy.
  • The Port of Seattle has delayed its $200 million cruise terminal project (Terminal 46), which was slated to open for the 2023 cruise season. Port officials will assess the COVID-19 impact on future cruise business before continuing the project, which requires a $100 million investment from a private partner(s).


Airline Industry

  • Nationally, as of June 14, TSA volumes at U.S. airports surpassed 540,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Despite the strong growth in passengers in recent weeks, the number of passengers remained 79% lower than the same period last year.
  • Access SEA Airport’s weekly dashboard of airport activity for more information.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation is suspending passenger flights of Chinese carriers to and from the U.S., effective June 16. In response, China eased restrictions on U.S. carriers, allowing one flight per week from an approved list of Chinese gateway cities.
  • According to IATA, there was an increase in air travel related Google searches in May. Searches for ‘air travel,’ while 60% down as compared to January, are up 25% from April, which was the low point.
  • According to IATA, 2020 global airline bookings will experience a revenue reduction of $314 billion (-55%).

Resources for Businesses:

The state is working with federal and local partners to mitigate these impacts as much as possible. A list of resources for businesses and workers who have been impacted can be found here on the Governor's website.


Health Recommendations


Back to Work Guidelines & Toolkits


Back to Work for the Restaurant Industry


Back to Work for the Hospitality Industry


Back to Work for Retail Businesses


Back to Work for Services


Back to Work for Medical & Dental Professionals


Back to Work for Manufacturing Businesses


Guidelines for the Recreation


Additional Resources for Businesses:


These resources will be continuously updated. And if you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at

Stay tuned for the official details, which will be posted on the King County Public Health site. The RTA will continue to work in collaboration with these authorities for any implementations of this layered approach to mitigation.


Travel and Health Advisories

Today, you’ll find resources on the following websites that may provide assistance:

These resources will be continuously updated. And if you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at