Partial reopening for some recreational activity and non-essential private business
May 7, 2020
OLYMPIA–The State of Washington’s “Stay-at-Home” order has been extended to May 31, 2020, with reopening provisions. The process will occur slowly in four phases and, according to Gov. Jay Inslee, steps to opening closed businesses will start with Phase 1 on May 4. Each phase will require continued social (physical) distancing and health precautions which include protective wear to limit incidence to COVID-19 exposure. Ten counties: Garfield, Columbia, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Wahkiakum, Skamania, Kittitas, Grays Harbor and Jefferson have the opportunity to reopen in Phase 2 sooner, with an approved variance. These counties have very low incidence of infection and death, which allow them the opportunity to apply for a variance for reopening at Phase 2. Inslee has handed that determination over to the public health officials in each county as to how, when and at what level to reopen.
The State will begin with Phase 1 which requires the *high-risk populations to continue to stay home. Only essential travel, business and existing construction which meet agreed-upon criteria will continue. Some previously shutdown activities will resume on a tentative level such as landscaping, automobile sales, retail with curb-side pick-up orders only, car washes and pet walkers. Drive-in spiritual service with one household per vehicle is allowed, and outdoor recreation: hunting, fishing, golf, boating, and hiking have been minimally reinstated restricted to day trips only. Social gatherings are still not be allowed.
Phase 2 still requires high-risk populations to continue to stay home. Activities to reopen in this level is all outdoor recreation involving fewer than five people outside your household (camping, beaches, etc.); gatherings with no more than five people outside your household per week; limited non-essential travel within proximity of your home; remaining manufacturing; new construction; in-home domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.); retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions); real estate; professional services for office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged); hair and nail salons, barbers; housecleaning; restaurants at fifty percent capacity with table size no larger than five.
The Governor plans to move to the next phase after three weeks if there is not a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The third level of opening (Phase 3) encourages people to stay home and stay healthy, but does not mandate home confinement of high-risk people. All travel can resume and gatherings of no more than 50 are allowed. Outdoor group recreational sports activities of 5-50 people may resume and recreational facilities such as public pools may function at fifty percent or less capacity. Restaurants may open with a table size no larger than 10 people, bars can operate at twenty-five percent capacity, indoor activities and movie theaters at fifty percent capacity, government reopens but telework is strongly encouraged, libraries, museums and all other business activities not yet listed and events with 50 or fewer people.
Finally, Phase 4, defined as having a vaccine for COVID-19, will allow public interactions with physical distancing, open all recreational activity, allow gatherings with 550 people, continue non-essential travel, open concert venues, large sporting events and resume unrestricted staffing of worksites, with continue physical distancing and good hygiene practices.
According to the Washington State Coronavirus data map (as of this writing) there are 15,185 confirmed COVID-19 cases, zero recovered and 834 deaths. Since the state population is 7.5 million this means 2,024 out of 1 million have contracted the disease, 111.2 people per 1 million have died of coronavirus and apparently no data relating to recovery is available.
The most affected county in the State of Washington is King County with 6,449 confirmed cases and 459 deaths related to COVID-19. The next county is Snohomish County with 2,509 confirmed cases and 109 related deaths. The third county is Pierce with 1,393 confirmed cases and 50 deaths. The last county with numbers above one thousand is Yakima with 1,296 confirmed cases and 47 deaths. All other counties in the state have relatively low-affected numbers but is comparative per population.
*High-risk populations are currently defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as: persons 65 years of age and older; people of all ages with underlying medical conditions (particularly not well controlled) including people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people with compromised immune systems, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and people with liver disease; people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.