Gov. Inslee has extended the stay-at-home order through May 31.
“I would like to tell you that you can make reservations for June 1, but I can’t,” Inslee said. “We will have to monitor, assess and adapt.” Watch the news conference here.
The governor said Washington businesses will reopen in four stages. Smaller counties not hit hard by coronavirus will be able to apply for the Department of Health for a variance from his order. The variance will allow for more quickly moving to each next phase.
Inslee said that data will determine how quickly Washington state moves from one phases to the next, but he doesn’t expect to see any movement for at least three weeks between each phase. Best case scenario, if Phase 1 begins today, the schedule is as follows: Phase 2 to start May 22; Phase 3 to start June 12; Phase 4 to start July 3.
“We have to understand there will be at least a minimum of three weeks between each phase to judge their effectiveness,” Inslee said.
Phase 1 is essentially our current phase with minor changes. His office is also working to get safety protocols to businesses by mid-May that would allow curbside retail, auto sales, car wash and drive-up religious services with one car per household.
Phase 2 would allow more outdoor activities, including camping. It would also allow gatherings of no more than five people outside your own household, construction, and in-store retail, barbershops, salons, and restaurants at 50% capacity.
Phase 3 would allow gatherings of 50 or fewer people, including sports, travel, restaurants at 75% capacity, and bars at 25%. Gyms and movie theaters at 50% capacity, and retail, libraries, museums, and government buildings could open. Pools and recreation centers could open at 50% capacity.
Phase 4 is essentially back to a new normal, allowing gatherings of 50 or more, etc. All phases must still follow physical distancing guidelines.
Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order was set to expire on Monday, May 4, but he said on Wednesday that it’ll be extended. The governor has said that reopening will not be like turning on a light switch, but rather be a slow and calculated process.
“I have said that our return to normal will still not look the way things did before this virus until we have pharmaceutical interventions such as a vaccine,” Inslee said. “No one knows when we are going to get there.”
This content originally appeared in MyNorthwest.com – Read the full post here.