OLYMPIA — Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday said expanded criteria likely will allow 10 more Washington counties to reopen more quickly under his four-phase recovery plan.
It likely will greatly expand the number of Washington businesses able to re-open in Phase 2, as well, under COVID-19 safety guidelines. Those businesses — from hair salons, restaurants and retail stores, to personal and professional services — have been restricted or completely shut down since March 23, when the “stay home, stay safe” order when into effect.
Inslee said today the move “obviously is happily going to allow more economic opportunity” for counties to move up their reopening, “while still really providing the protections we need for the health of our citizens.”
The expanded criteria allow counties with fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents across a 14 days to apply with the state Department of Health (DOH) to reopen ahead of other counties in the state.
The new counties now eligible to apply with DOH are: Adams, Spokane, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Clark, Clallam, Kitsap, Island and San Juan counties.
Under this second phase, restaurants will reopen with some sit-down dining, retailers can proceed with in-store purchases and pet groomers can resume work. Many professional and personal services from barbershops, hair salons, and tattoo artists to attorneys, architects and IT professionals — can resume with safety protocols in place.
Clark County Council Chair Eileen Quiring said: “After our meeting of the Board of Health tomorrow morning I will know more, but Clark County is anxious to move into Phase 2 and we are preparing for it. We have to apply, of course, but it appears that we will do that expeditiously!”
She said she will provide an update on Wednesday.