Columbia County Phase III approved
June 11, 2020
DAYTON–Columbia County has been approved to advance to Phase III to reopen businesses and change physical distancing requirements, the Columbia County Commissioners announced Friday, May 5.
Included in the approval are movie theaters, libraries and museums, conditioned on state-mandated guidelines. If new infections are detected, the County is required to inform the Washington State Department of Health, then monitor the outbreak. The guidelines are expected to be released Friday, June 5. 2020.
There are no timelines released by the Department of Health and Governor’s Office regarding a move to Phase IV.
Columbia County was one of the eight counties named eligible to advance due to its low number of positive cases, and not having a positive case within the past four weeks, the BOCC’s news release indicated. Columbia County Public Health submitted the county’s variance request on June 3, 2020.
Subject to the conditions in this approval, the activities and business services listed in Phase III of Governor Inslee’s Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan are now permitted in Columbia County. These activities and business services are:
-Recreation: Outdoor group recreational sports activities of 50 or fewer people; recreational facilities at <50% capacity (gyms, public pools, etc.), and professional sports without audience participation (horseracing, baseball, etc.)
-Gatherings: Allow gatherings with no more than 50 people
-Travel: Resume non-essential travel
-Restaurants/taverns <75% capacity and table size no larger than 10
-Bar areas in restaurants/taverns at <25% capacity
-Movie theaters at <50% capacity
-Customer-facing government services (telework remains strongly encouraged)
-All other business activities not yet listed except for nightclubs and events with greater than 50 people
People in high-risk populations are strongly encouraged to limit their participation in these Phase III activities and business services. High-risk populations are currently defined by the 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 who are immunocompromised,
-People with severe obesity,
-People with diabetes,
-People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and
-People with liver disease; and
-People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
“I may revoke this approval if circumstances change within your jurisdiction, such as a significant community transmission, no or minimal access to CVOID-19 testing, inadequate surge capacity in the hospital, inadequate PPE supplies, inadequate case and contact investigations, inadequate performance on daily contact for cases in isolation or contacts in quarantine, inadequate isolation or quarantine facilities, or other conditions warranting significant concern,” Dr. Wiesman stated. “My intent would be to discuss my concerns with you prior to taking such action. However, if I find urgent concerns, I reserve the right to immediately revoke the approval. The Governor also retains the right to re-impose restrictions upon your jurisdiction under his authority.”