Four more Washington counties approved for Phase 2 reopening

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CAMP MURRAY, Wash. -- Four more counties -- Adams, Grays Harbor, Lewis and Spokane -- have been approved for Phase 2 reopening under Gov. Inslee's plan to restart the economy.

This brings the total number of counties moving into Phase 2 to 14: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Lincoln, Lewis, Ferry, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Whitman.

The 14 counties approved for Phase 2 reopening have a combined population of roughly 872,000 people out of 7.6 million total residents in Washington state.

Eleven other counties have met the requirements to apply for a Phase 2 variance: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, San Juan, and Thurston.

According to the state Joint Information Center, Kittitas County's application is on pause until Tuesday, May 26, while public health officials investigate an outbreak.

To apply for a variance, counties must have an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals, and the county commission/council.

Here’s what businesses are allowed to reopen under Phase 2 of the governor’s plan:

– Remaining manufacturing
– Additional construction phases
– In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)
– Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)
– Real estate
– Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
– Hair and nail salons/barbers
– Pet grooming
– Restaurants <50% capacity table size no larger than 5

Each county must demonstrate they have adequate local hospital bed capacity as well as adequate PPE supplies to keep health care workers safe. The application must include plans for:

  • Making testing available and accessible to everyone in the county with symptoms
  • Staffing case investigations and contact tracing
  • Housing people in isolation or quarantine who can’t or don’t want to do so at home
  • Providing case management services to those in isolation and quarantine
  • Responding rapidly to outbreaks in congregate settings.

The variance requests are reviewed by the secretary of health, who can approve the plans as submitted, approve with modifications or deny the application. If circumstances change within the jurisdiction, the variance can be revoked.

The rest of the state is still under Phase 1, which allows day use activities at most state parks and some outdoor recreation like hunting, golfing and fishing to resume.

Businesses allowed to reopen under Phase 1 include:

-Existing construction that meets agreed upon criteria
– Landscaping
– Auto/RV/boat/ORV sales
– Retail (curb-side pick-up orders only)
– Car washes
– Pet walkers

Read the state's "Safe Start" plan here.

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