Pools, drive-in theaters and other activities approved for Benton and Franklin counties

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Benton and Franklin Counties have been approved for more business and recreational activities beginning Saturday, August 1.

After reviewing the progress made in Benton and Franklin Counties in recent weeks, Secretary of Health John Wiesman and State Health Officer Kathy Lofy have eased restrictions for wineries, breweries, distilleries, taverns, swimming pools, indoor retail and drive-in movies.

The following activities have been added:

1. Wineries, breweries, distilleries, taverns and restaurants can now follow Phase 2 guidance with the exception that indoor seating is still not allowed.

2. Staffed swimming pools can open for lap swimming and small group swimming lessons in accordance with modified Phase 1 guidance.

3. Drive-in movies are allowed without concession stands. Only members of the same household may occupy a vehicle.

4. Indoor retail capacity is expanded from 15% to 25% of capacity. 5. Outdoor religious services are allowed with tents and/or canopies

Benton-Franklin Health District and community leaders have continued to work closely with Washington State Department of Health to safely expand activities; high mask usage and improving case counts factored heavily in the decision to ease restrictions.

“We are proud of how our community has stepped up as reflected in our mask surveys at grocery stores, said Dr. Amy Person, health officer at Benton-Franklin Health District. “We encourage everyone to continue to avoid gatherings, stay home when they’re sick, and wash their hands frequently,”

Other activities not previously included in Benton and Franklin Counties modified Phase 1 are still not allowed. Other changes to the state’s Safe Start Phased Reopening Plan were announced by Governor Inslee earlier this week.