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Gov. Inslee can’t guarantee Phase 2 will start June 1

Gov. Inslee.(TVW)

Based on a three-week buffer between each phase, Washington state is targeted to move on to Phase 2 of reopening the state on Monday, June 1. But Governor Inslee said that won’t necessarily be the case.

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“We would like to move to Phase 2 on that date, but we cannot guarantee that,” Inslee said in a news conference on Thursday. “It cannot be set in stone, and the reason is the virus is the one that will ultimately determine when it’s safe for us to move to Phase 2.”

Inslee said the date also depends on the preparation and process counties are making now in contact tracing and isolation initiatives.

“There is no economic recovery without recovery of our health in the long-term,” the governor said.

He explained that if you look at the outbreak in Washington as an arc, being on the down slope of the arc is the most difficult stage because we’re all so eager to return to normal life.

“I do know one thing about Washingtonians: We do not like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” Inslee said.

Inslee hosted Anthony Anton, Washington Hospitality Association; Renee Sunde, Washington Retail Association; and Jennifer Moran, Washington Auto Dealers Association in a news conference Thursday to talk about how their industries are preparing to reopen in Phase 2 and what they’ve learned so far from curbside pickup and modified business practices.

“Retail is all about customer confidence, and we have to have customers who are confident coming into retail stores,” Sunde said. “I think the inconveniences are worth it.”

Anton said customers ordering takeout and delivery have mostly been patient with servers, standing apart from one another, taking a breath, and realizing we’re all in this together.

“They’re really understanding about waiting in their cars,” he said.

“It’s not the same as having a customer in a store, but I think retailers are learning about how to be creative, … we are seeing creativity across the state,” Sunde added.

Watch his news conference on Facebook here

The four-phase ‘Safe Start’ reopening process kicked off May 5 with Phase 1, which includes the restart of some construction, outdoor activities, park access, drive-in spiritual services, landscaping, car washes, vehicle sales, pet walking, and retail sales with curbside pickup.

Phase 2 permits expanded outdoor recreation, additional construction, manufacturing, domestic services, limited in-store retail shopping, real estate sales, professional services, nail salons, barbers, pet grooming, and restaurants. All businesses will have industry specific guidance to follow in each phase.

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