4 More Washington Counties Join Phase 2 Reopening

Lucas Combos

OLYMPIA, WA — Four more Washington counties have joined a growing list of places approved to begin the second phase of the state's four-part reopening plan.

The Department of Health on Friday announced Adams, Grays Harbor, Lewis and Spokane counties could move forward with the expedited plan, joining 10 previous counties that were already approved.

During phase 2, restaurants, retail stores, salons and other businesses can resume limited in-person service, with several added health precautions.

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With the newly-added counties, about one-third of the state has moved forward with reopening. Gov. Jay Inslee said his office is still working on the timeline for the rest of the state.

"We are hard at work to determine next steps as we move closer to the May 31 expiration of my current order," Inslee said. "As I have repeatedly said before, these are decisions that are driven by public health data and science, not the calendar."

Earlier this month, state Secretary of Health John Wiesman said the tentative date for implementing phase 2 across the state would be June 1. The governor reiterated on Friday that the date is neither set in stone nor universal.

"To be clear: this does not mean that we will be able to open every county in the state on June 1," Inslee said. "Counties that continue to have large numbers of infections are not in a position to open up stores, restaurants and services safely."

(Office of the Governor)

Counties now approved for phase 2:

  • Adams
  • Asotin
  • Columbia
  • Garfield
  • Grays Harbor
  • Lincoln
  • Lewis
  • Ferry
  • Pend Orielle
  • Skamania
  • Spokane
  • Stevens
  • Wahkiakum
  • Whitman

Eleven additional counties are eligible to apply under the governor's updated guidelines, which qualifies areas with fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents confirmed in the last 14 days. State officials said an application from Kittitas County is on-hold until Tuesday while a potential outbreak is investigated.

Counties eligible to apply:

  • Clallam
  • Clark
  • Cowlitz
  • Grant
  • Island
  • Jefferson
  • Kitsap
  • Mason
  • Pacific
  • San Juan
  • Thurston

Learn more about the county variance process, or review the governor's Safe Start reopening plan on the state coronavirus website.

[NORECIRC]

This article originally appeared on the Seattle Patch