Submitted by: City of Bellingham, written by Janice Keller

The Bellingham Police Department is focused on education and voluntary compliance in enforcing Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

“I thank all Bellingham residents and business owners who are adhering to the Governor’s direction to stay home,” Bellingham Police Chief David Doll said. “This simple and powerful act will help slow the further spread of COVID-19. We all can play this important role – as individuals, families, and businesses – in our collective effort to keep our community healthy.”

Doll said the Bellingham Police Department’s first role at this time is educating community members about the importance of complying with social distancing directions.

“We are not stopping people who are walking or driving around, as they may be involved in an allowed essential activity,” he said. “People may be out exercising, which is an allowed activity when done properly and is vital to everyone’s mental health during this challenging time.”

Doll said if police officers see groups of people gathering and not exhibiting social distancing, they may stop and ask the group to disperse. 

“Our role is to educate to gain voluntary compliance,” he said. “We do not want to place you under arrest for violating the order.”

Certain businesses may remain open if they are considered essential. Certain types of businesses that have been deemed essential are described on the Governor’s website.  

If you see a non-essential business in operation, you can report that potential violation through on online form.  Do not call 911 to report these violations as 911 is reserved for immediate emergency services, Doll said.

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