By Luke Putvin | Lynnwood Times Staff
At his May 1 press conference, Governor Jay Inslee announced that on Monday he will extend Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to May 31. Additionally, he shared the four-phase approach to reopening businesses in Washington.
Smaller counties that have not been hit as hard as others will be able to apply to the Department of Health for variances on the order.
“We have not won the fight against this virus,” Inslee said. At this time, the ban on public gatherings and the closure of many businesses still stands. “The new normal is not here yet.”
Inslee shared the news that there is continuing evidence we as suppressing the spread of the virus and its transmission rates in the central Puget sound area. “What we’re doing is working,” he said.
Phase one, which Inslee said he hopes will be around mid-May, will allow curbside retail pickups, drive-in spiritual services, car washes and several other businesses to operate. There will still, however, be a ban on group gatherings at this time.
Phase two will allow camping, small gatherings of five people, in-store retail, barbershops, restaurants at 50% capacity, pet care services and others. All businesses at this time will still be required to follow all health and safety guidelines.
Phase three will allow gatherings of 50 people or less, the resumption of non-essential travel, the opening of libraries and restaurants to be at 75% while bars will be allowed to reopen at 25%.
Phase four will resume gatherings while practicing social distancing.
Inslee stated the return to normal won’t resume until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Bars, restaurants and entertainment could resume, but there would have to be physical distancing in place for all.
Inslee shared that there will be at least three weeks between each phase and that there may be much more given the nature of the virus. Metrics that will affect the movement from phase to phase include the status of the disease, testing capacity, contact investigation capability and the readiness of health care workers.
“This remains a very precarious situation, and we cannot be lulled into a false sense of relief,” Inslee said.