10 more Washington counties can apply for Phase 2 reopening


OLYMPIA (KCPQ) — Ten more counties in Washington state are now eligible to apply for Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the economy, he announced today.

This includes Spokane, Adams, Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Clark, Kitsap, Clallam, San Juan and Island counties. Ten other counties already have received variances to move to Phase 2 of reopening.

Inslee said Tuesday that the 20 counties represent about 30 percent of the state’s population.

Counties Eligible

Inslee has loosened some of the requirements for counties to receive a variance. Previously, they had to report zero new cases in three weeks. Now, counties can apply if they’ve had fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days.

Inslee also has eliminated the requirement that counties applying for variances have a population of less than 75,000, as several of the counties eligible to apply have more than 75,000 residents.

The new criteria is notable, especially for Spokane and Clallam counties. Both Republican and Democrat leaders in those counties have rallied to move to Phase 2.

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

Inslee announced Monday that dentists and doctors’ offices can reopen immediately for non-urgent treatment if coronavirus safety protocols are in place, including adequate personal protective equipment for workers.

Businesses in the counties approved to move into Phase 2 must wait to reopen “until guidance has been released for their industry on how to keep workers and the public safe.”

They must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in that guidance to reopen.

The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals, and the county commission/council.

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.