King County sends in application for Phase 2 of reopening

Jun 16, 2020, 5:28 AM | Updated: 10:24 am

Seattle skyline...

The Seattle skyline. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

King County officially sent in its application for Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan on Monday. If approved by the Washington State Department of Health, the next phase could start as soon as Friday of this week.

Washington DOH concerned over recent increase in COVID-19 cases

“After two weeks in what has been called Phase 1.5, our case counts, health care system capacity and other metrics are holding steady, and we are ready to move to Phase 2,” Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release.

Constantine also warned that in the days ahead, residents of the county will still need to wear cloth face coverings in public, and avoid “unnecessary contacts.”

He also assured the public that the decision to apply for Phase 2 was based on data.

“These decisions are not being made subjectively,” he said Tuesday. “This is not about a gut feeling. We are using data and public health best practices.”

Phase 2 will allow King County restaurants to serve at 50% capacity, while retail will be allowed to operate at 30% capacity. Individuals may also gather with five or fewer people from outside their household per week.

Gyms will be allowed to reopen as well, provided they meet a series of safety guidelines.

What’s allowed as counties reopen under ‘Safe Start’ phases

At this moment, the county is operating in a modified Phase 1, which has allowed it to reopen in-store retail, barbershops and salons, and dine-in service at restaurants, all at half the capacity permitted in Phase 2.

There are just three counties in Washington still in an unmodified Phase 1: Benton, Franklin, and Yakima. The rest are either in Phase 2, Phase 3, or a modified Phase 1. No counties are currently in Phase 4.

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