Updated: Cancellations, closures as island responds to COVID-19

Following recommendations proposed by Public Health — Seattle & King County.

Recommendations proposed by Public Health — Seattle & King County amid the growing outbreak of COVID-19 or coronavirus in King County have led several island organizations to adjust their practices or cancel upcoming public gatherings.

This is a developing story: We will give updates on changes and further closures as we learn more. Please email editor@vashonbeachcomber.com or prowley@vashonbeachcomber.com with questions or news tips.

Monday, April 6


  • The Vashon Food Bank has adjusted the hours for grocery pick-up and home delivery. Grocery pick-up is available on-site at Sunrise Ridge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Home delivery is available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays only. More information is available online.

Wednesday, April 1


  • The Vashon Pharmacy has changed its hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and to 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Islanders can call in orders weekdays starting at 9 a.m. The pharmacy also offers curbside and mail order services.

Friday, March 27


  • The Vashon Food Bank has adjusted the hours for grocery pick-up and home delivery, citing increases in demand. Grocery pick-up is available on-site at Sunrise Ridge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Home delivery is available from noon to 4 in-town and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. island-wide on Thursdays. More information is available online.
  • The deadline for Vashon Heritage Museum’s contest for students in grades 4 and 5 is April 3. Submit island-themed posters, short videos, interviews, essays or poems to admin@vashonheritage.org or bring entries to the museum’s front door between 1 and 4 p.m. on April 3.

Wednesday, March 25


  • King County Parks is closing all parks including Dockton Forest and Island Center Forest until further notice. Parking lot and trailhead gates will be locked, and restrooms will be closed.
  • The Vashon Tool Library will be closed until May 2.
  • The Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce has canceled its Spring Fling event for 2020.

Monday, March 23


  • Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union will change its business hours at its Vashon branch, instituting a new rule today to only allow three customers into the lobby at a time. The new hours for the local branch will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Friday, March 20


  • The Rock Island Pizza is closed until further notice.
  • Vashon Island Fire & Rescue is suspending public access to numerous facilities until April 30 including stations and the VIFR administration building. The public will not be able to use the multipurpose rooms, participate in CPR classes or visit the fire station. However, VIFR will be able to check blood pressure and “respond to emergent life safety questions if the first responders are at the stations,” according to an announcement. Islanders can still knock on the door or ring the doorbell if assistance is needed. The VIFR administrative office number is 206-463-2405.
  • King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreation stated in an online notice that these agencies have “closed active recreation facilities in parks, including sports courts, play areas, picnic shelters and other areas where essential social distancing guidelines are difficult to achieve.”

Monday, March 16


  • Doug’s Foreign & Domestic Auto Repair is closed effective today.


  • The Vashon Theatre will close on Friday, March 20 following the run of the Pixar/Disney movie, “Onward.

Sunday, March 15


  • The Vashon Fix-It Café, originally scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Vashon Eagles Club, has been canceled.


  • The Salish Sea Early Music Festival has postponed two events: “An Amusement for Flute and Guitar,” which had been scheduled for March 19, and “Musica Alta Ripa,” which had been scheduled for Thursday, April 2. Organizers said in an email that, “We expect that Bernward and Anne and Oleg (who were scheduled to perform ‘Musica Alta Ripa’) will return in 2021. With luck, we’ll continue late this spring and will keep you updated.”

Saturday, March 14


  • The committee to reform the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council has canceled their upcoming meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 16, at The Land Trust building.

Friday, March 13


  • The Vashon Heritage Museum will be closed to visitors through Tuesday, March 24.
  • Gather Vashon and Margaret in the Hallway gallery is closed.
  • Beginning at 6 p.m. today, the King County Library System will close all library locations to the public until at least April 13 or further notice. During the closure, library customers should keep items they currently have checked out. All due dates have been automatically extended until April 30, and KCLS is waiving all late fees accrued between March 1 and April 30. More information is available online.
  • The Vashon Athletic Club is canceling all senior group exercise classes through the end of March. The club will remain open for regular hours of operation seven days a week.
  • Island Paper Chase will be closed at least through March 26.

Thursday, March 12


  • The Vashon Lutheran Church has canceled all Wednesday night Lenten services as well as Sunday worship services through the end of March.
  • The Vashon Heritage Museum will close until March 24.
  • The Vashon Island Park District will be closing some facilities for a minimum of two weeks, including the Ober Park Administration Building, the community pool and VES Fields. All other parks will remain open. Public restrooms and porta-potties will remain open. More information is available online.
  • The Vashon Tool Library will be closed now through the end of March. In addition, the planned Fix-It cafe on March 28 is no longer occurring. Updates about further decisions will be posted on vashontools.org.
  • Vashon Youth and Family Services has announced a number of changes to their programs. Staff is working to find another location for providing the OASIS Case Management service in lieu of the Vashon Senior Center, where the program is located. The Family Place building and play space has closed and likely won’t open again until the school district opens again on April 24. Vashon Kids, also connected to the school district, is inoperational — check for updates on Monday. The Parents as Teachers program will be offered via video conference. The Latino Outreach Program will continue.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has canceled all public gatherings of church members worldwide until further notice.

Wednesday, March 11


The Vashon Island School District will close beginning Friday, March 13, for six weeks, according to a message sent to families this evening by superintendent Slade McSheehy. The closure is planned to last until Friday, April 24.

The announcement follows an earlier decision to cancel or postpone all events scheduled outside of school hours, such as athletics, band events and SAT testing. Staff members who were considered at high-risk were asked to work with their supervisor and Human Resources to stay home.

The school board will meet as planned tomorrow at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at Chautauqua Elementary School to discuss coronavirus impacts and planning.

  • The Vashon Island Rotary Club has suspended all meetings for at least the next three weeks.
  • The Vashon Lutheran Church has cancel services for this coming Sunday, March 15.
  • Vashon Bodywork announced it would close immediately.

Under an order today from Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, public events with fewer than 250 attendees are now prohibited unless event organizers can take steps to minimize risk.


  • Executive Director Allison Halstead Reid announced that Vashon Center for the Arts will close following a ban on large public gatherings of 250 people ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee. All classes at the Blue Heron Education Center have been postponed. More information is available online.

Tuesday, March 10


  • Granny’s Attic thrift shop is closed effective immediately until further notice.
  • Presenters of the Vashon Island Pride Alliance have canceled their screening of the film “Saving Face,” which was scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the Vashon Theatre.
  • The Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship will not hold services this weekend.
  • On Wednesday, the Vashon Presbyterian Church board will discuss whether to hold services this weekend. Officials of The Presbytery of Seattle have urged congregations to cancel regular worship, writing in a March 6 letter that while difficult, doing so would be in the best interest of the community.

Monday, March 9


  • The Puget Sound Zen Center has suspended all in-person meetings at the Vashon Havurah until further notice and move all further appointments to the conferencing platform ZOOM. All services will be held on ZOOM at their previously scheduled times. More information is available online.

This week’s Torah Study, scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Vashon Havurah, will be held as normal.

The Burton Community Church will be open for services this weekend.

Regular daily mass is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

Friday, March 6


A concert by Iris DeMent, who was set to perform on Sunday, March 8, at Vashon Center for the Arts, has been postponed to Saturday, August 8. DeMent was also set to perform at Seattle’s Triple Door auditorium tomorrow, but that show has also been postponed until August. Tickets for DeMent’s appearance at the arts center will be honored for the rescheduled date. More information is available online.

A Talks on the Rock lecture about climate change featuring Heidi Roop scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, at the arts center has also been postponed, as well as a concert by the Girsky Quartet, originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. No date has been set at this time for holding either event in the future. Ticket holders will have the choice of transferring their ticket to a tax-deductible donation to VCA, exchanging tickets for another performance of equal value, or receiving a full refund.

  • Flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes, joined by singer and percussionist Diego Amador, Jr. and Carlo de Jacoba, will present “Como el Aire” at 8 p.m. tonight as scheduled at Vashon Havurah, 14401 Westside Hwy. S.W. The Purim celebration scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 8, has been canceled.
  • All upcoming large gatherings at Open Space for Arts & Community including “Larry Flynn’s Retirement Bash!” have been postponed.
  • VALISE Gallery has dropped out of tonight’s First Friday gallery cruise. The gallery will remain open during regular business hours, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays including this weekend through March 28.
  • The Mortgage Lifters concert from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, March 7, at Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe has been postponed. The Square Dance event at Snapdragon on March 19 has been canceled.


  • The Vashon Library has canceled all events and programs for the month of March. A visit from Public Health – Seattle & King County officials on March 18 to help islanders sign up for the Orca Lift – Metro reduced fare program, food stamps and health insurance through Apple Health is still planned for now. All libraries in the King County Library System remain open and are operating as normal.
  • The Pi day event scheduled for March 14 at the Vashon Presbyterian Church has been canceled.
  • The Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship has canceled its Sunday service for March 8.

Thursday, March 5


The spring 2020 Vashon Island Art Studio Tour has been canceled. In a statement, Brian Fisher, president of the Vashon Island Visual Artists board of directors, wrote that the board moved to cancel the event because Washington state is a major focal point of the coronavirus outbreak. He added that tour participants also voted to cancel with the possibility of rescheduling at a later date.

Fisher wrote that in considering a path forward, board members have suggested the tour be delayed until the holiday season. VIVA conducts two studio tours each year, with one occurring in the spring and one held during the holiday season.

“We are still weighing options. Many of us artists depend on income from Studio Tours. Balancing need and desire for health safety in the face of so much unknown about Covid-19 challenges us all,” he wrote. “Thank you sincerely for your prompt and considerate responses and for helping us make this difficult decision.”

  • Open Space for Arts and Community has postponed two upcoming events, including a showing of “The Detention Lottery,” scheduled for this Saturday, March 7, and “Come Together,” the Vashon Events benefit scheduled for next Friday, March 13.
  • All concerts and classes at Vashon Center for the Arts are currently happening as scheduled, though the arts center has modified its refund/exchange policy in the event that a performance or class is canceled due to the coronavirus. More information is available online.


  • Catherine Swearingen, executive director of The Vashon Senior Center on Bank Road, announced this afternoon that the senior center building will be closed until further notice out of concern for protecting the island’s elderly residents and others.
  • The Vashon Island Growers Association announced today that the winter farmers market scheduled for this Saturday, March 7, at Vashon Center for the Arts has been canceled in accordance with public health recommendations.
  • The King County Department of Local Services has suspended in-person field office hours at all locations including the Vashon Maury Island Chamber of Commerce until further notice.
  • Beginning next week, the Vashon Food Bank will be open as normal from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. but volunteers will only hand out bags packed with essentials in the parking lot. Residents will not be able to shop inside the food bank’s distribution space in order to avoid bringing large groups of people inside, per public health guidelines. The food bank’s home delivery service will remain the same and islanders may continue to sign up to receive goods at home.

Public Health — Seattle & King County has recommended against closing schools at this time due to the crisis unless there has been a confirmed case in the school. In a press conference today, health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin attributed that to considerations around timing, disruptions to learning, and impacts on faculty and students.

“The bottom line is, school closures also have some very significant downsides; we know more about the downsides then we do it the benefits at this point,” he said. “We closed schools during H1N1 and we saw tremendous community disruption — parents had to stay home from work who needed to be at work; it affected our healthcare workforce as well, many nurses were pulled out to care for their children.”

Duchin added that at that time, children still gathered in group settings and had exposure to one another and that the role of children yet in transmitting COVID-19 is presently unknown. “We’re going to reconsider how this outbreak looks in our community, we’re going to reassess every day, really, and adjust our strategies as necessary in close consultation,” he said.