Gov. Inslee releases plan to re-open WA; some could re-open faster

Gov. Inslee has extended the stay-at-home order through May 31, although Grays Harbor could phase in earlier than most counties.

The governor had said in his teleconference that Washington businesses can reopen in four stages, based on what he calls “dials”. 

Inslee said that health data will determine how quickly Washington state moves from one phase into the next, although he indicated that 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.

“I would like to tell you that you can make reservations for June 1, but I can’t,” Inslee said. 

Four stages:

  • 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, barber shops, 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.
The dashboard features five “dials” measuring different data points in the state. The public will be able to view the data guiding the state’s ongoing discussions on recovery planning by visiting the state Department of Health website or


10 smaller counties that have not been hit as hard by the coronavirus are able to apply for a variance from his order that would allow them to move to the next phase faster than the majority of counties.

Inslee said that counties with low numbers of cases and deaths are able to submit a health plan to the state that indicates preparedness levels, including hospital capacity and PPE levels, are able to request a move on to Phase 2 faster. 

Eligible Counties

  • Columbia: 1 case, 0 deaths
  • Garfield: 0 cases, 0 deaths
  • Jefferson: 28 cases, 0 deaths
  • Lincoln: 2 cases, 0 deaths
  • Pend Oreille: 2 cases, 0 deaths
  • Skamania: 3 cases, 0 deaths
  • Wahkiakum: 2 cases, 0 deaths
  • Kittitas: 14 cases, 0 deaths
  • Ferry: 1 case, 0 deaths
  • Grays Harbor: 12 cases, 0 deaths

Additional counties eligible may be added in the coming weeks.

Inslee announced partial reopening of outdoor recreation on Monday, which takes effect on Tuesday, May 5. He announced Friday relaxed restrictions on construction.

Inslee also unveiled a dashboard that explains the categories and the “dials” he is considering when loosening restrictions.

Read more at the Governor’s Medium page.