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Phase 1: The governor has already allowed some construction to resume as well as reopening of some recreational activities including day use at state parks, playing golf, fishing and hunting starting May 5. Officials are working with industries to develop new protocols that could soon also allow for retail curbside pickup, car washes, landscaping and house cleaning services and drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle.
Phase 2: Additional expansions of outdoor recreation activities would be allowed, as well as small gatherings of five or fewer people, new construction and in-store retail purchases with health restrictions. Barber shops and salons could reopen. Restaurants could reopen with 50% capacity and table size no larger than five. Some professional services and offices could open up as well, even though teleworking would remain strongly encouraged. Pet care services including grooming could resume.
Phase 3: Gatherings of 50 people or less, including sports activities, would be allowed, and non-essential travel could resume. Restaurants could move up to 75% capacity and tables up to 10 people, and bars at 25% capacity; gyms and movie theaters could reopen at 50% capacity; retail, libraries, museums and government buildings could reopen. Recreational facilities like pools could open at 50% capacity. Nightclubs and entertainment venues would still not be able to reopen.
Phase 4: Would involve resuming the majority of public interactions. Gatherings of more than 50 people would be allowed, but still while practicing physical distancing.
Cowlitz County is in Phase 2 as of May 26th and it will continue for at least three weeks.
Not every part of the state is experiencing the pandemic the same way. It will be harder to reopen certain industries in heavily populated areas. We want to acknowledge that some counties may be able to resume certain activities safely, while others remain at higher risk and need to continue stricter precautions. In any community that restrictions are lifted, state health officials are closely monitoring COVID-19 activity and will reinstate restrictions if COVID-19 activity increases.
Each county’s status can be found at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/county-status-and-safe-start-application-process.
Businesses are also expected to implement any additional requirements developed specifically for their industry such as those that have been established for construction.
The governor and public health officials look at numerous data sources. An overview of some of that data can be seen on the state’s Risk Assessment dashboard in the “What You Need to Know” section of coronavirus.wa.gov.
The governor’s decisions about resuming activities are based on COVID-19 activity and our readiness to test, treat and protect Washingtonians and not on any particular timeline. The governor has said a full return to normal will require pharmaceutical interventions such as a vaccine and he does not know when we are going to get there.
If you’re looking for a way to support our essential workers, you can participate in Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib’s “Washington Mask Challenge.” If you have homemade cloth masks to done to an organization in need we encourage you to go to www.WAmaskChallenge.org. And if you are one of those organizations in need of cloth masks, you can request them at the website.