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Business closed reader board message during COVID-19 closures (April 17, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News

“Stay home” restriction extended – state’s 4-phase plan released

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday, May 1st, his “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order of March 23rd would be extended again, this time through May 31st.

During the live broadcast press conference, Inslee also announced a 4-phase process for resuming recreational, social and business activities.

4 Phases identified for reopening business and some areas of the state (May 1, 2020). Image: State of Washington
4 Phases identified for reopening business and some areas of the state (May 1, 2020). Image: State of Washington

Saying that the spread of COVID-19 disease continues to be suppressed while the state practices social distancing and follows the stay-at-home order, Inslee quoted a presentation he had received on lifting the restrictions by saying, “Cautious well-informed relaxation will be critical.” “We don’t want to do this twice,” he added. “This is bad enough once.”

As of May 4th 5th, the state will be considered to be in Phase 1 which opens up some state recreation areas. New guidance for “drive-in spiritual services” and retail curbside pick-up were given.

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Inslee said that moving to each phase might be done in intervals of about 3 weeks and that moving to Phase 2 might be possible as early as May 25th.

Phase 2 would provide for groups of 5 or fewer not from the same household participating in camping, dining at restaurants (capacity at 50% of normal) and outdoor activities. Most businesses not dependent upon crowds (i.e. not bars, theatres, nightclubs, gyms, etc.) will be able to reopen in some capacity while following physical distancing protocols.

Inslee pointed to a publicly-accessible “Risk assessment dashboard” with indicators for the data that will determine how quickly Washington state moves from one phase to the next. The dashboard will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.

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Inslee said that 10 less-impacted counties have been pre-screened to be able to advance to the next phases while others will be able to apply for variances that, if approved, would allow them to also.

The 10 counties identified:

  • Columbia
  • Ferry
  • Garfield
  • Grays Harbor
  • Jefferson
  • Kittitas
  • Lincoln
  • Pend Oreille
  • Skamania
  • Wahkiakum

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