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Inslee “Safe Start” plan details how and when businesses can re-open

Some businesses could re-open as early as this week under the new COVID-19 order signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday. 

The Governor’s “Safe Start” plan is a phased approach to re-opening Washington’s economy. 

Safe Start sets a careful approach to emerging from the pandemic. It allows for modifications of business closures and physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. 

“This phased approach to re-opening our economy will allow us to move forward with a careful and thoughtful balance of our state’s health and economic needs,” Inslee said. “However, if infection rates and hospitalizations for COVID-related issues go up, I would not hesitate to scale these efforts back down to protect public health and save lives.

“I fully recognize the impact this is having on families, workers and businesses, but we have not yet won the fight against this virus,” Inslee continued. “We continue to see infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths across the state from COVID-19.” 

While Stay Home, Stay Healthy is being extended to the end of May, the governor announced his Safe Start plan which amends some components of the original order and allow for a start to re-open the state. 

Through the Washington “Safe Start” plan, more businesses and activities would re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures and health standards in place. Each phase will be at least three weeks — data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.

  • Phase 1 builds upon recent decisions made around re-opening some construction activity (allowed as of April 29) and outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, playing golf and some park access. Beginning May 5, Phase 1 also adds drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle, auto/RV/boat/ORV sales, retail open for curb-side pick-up orders, car washes, landscaping, and pet walking. Businesses may only re-open when they are able to fully comply with the industry-specific requirements that will be issued no later than May 15, 2020. 

The state will stay in every phase for a minimum of three weeks in order to allow one complete disease incubation period plus an additional week to compile complete data and confirm trends.

Every phase will still require social distancing and appropriate health precautions including the use of personal protective equipment in a number of workplaces. 

This phased approach may be adjusted as the pandemic evolves.

Businesses listed in each phase of the plan will have industry-specific guidance and safety criteria developed to ensure workplace safety and public health are maintained. 

Inslee’s new order also detailed how counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply to the state Department of Health with a plan to more quickly move to Phase 2.

Read the full Safe Start policy plan here.

Read the full story on the governor’s Medium page.


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