• Jacque Coe

Governor rolls out new standards for county-by-county Phase 2 reopening

Gov. Jay Inslee on May 29 announced the state’s stay-home order will not be extended, and will expire on May 31, 2020. Inslee said he issued a new Safe Start recovery program proclamation that continues the phased approach to recovery on a county-by-county basis. Each county will start June 1 in its current phase and have the flexibility to apply to the Washington State Department of Health to move to subsequent phases with additional economic activity.

This process will be based on a holistic review of each county’s coronavirus cases and ability to respond to the virus and will be evaluated in these categories:

  1. Coronavirus activity

  2. Health care system readiness

  3. Adequate testing capacity

  4. Contact tracing

  5. Protect the vulnerable

A total of 26 counties have now been approved to move to Phase 2: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, and Whitman. All other counties are in Phase 1. Inslee said the state is open to options presented by Phase 1 counties to move to a Phase 1.5, for example, and begin reopening some Phase 2 activities.

Businesses approved to move into Phase 2 must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen.

Counties cannot proceed on to Phase 3 opening without further authorization of the Washington State Department of Health and a three-week monitoring period. Inslee said the earliest any county could open for Phase 3 is June 3, 2020.

Lastly, Inslee said cloth face masks are now required to be worn by all Washington employees who do not work alone, effective June 8, 2020. Employers will provide a face covering and in some industries, a more sophisticated facial covering may be required. If your county is not yet in Phase 2, you can begin preparing today. Check out our Washington State Guide to Reopening Your Restaurant. 

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