Update, Monday, May 18, 1:06 p.m.: As of Monday, May 18, Asotin County has also been approved for a move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan.
Update, Friday, May 15, 2:41 p.m.: As of Friday, May 15, Whitman County has also been approved for a move to Phase 2 of Inslee’s four-phase plan.
Update, Monday, May 11, 5:14 p.m.: As of Friday, May 8, all the industry sectors listed in Phase 1 of Inslee’s four-phase plan for reopening the state of Washington will now be able to resume in some form under new safety guidelines. As of Monday, May 11 the following counties were approved for advancement to Phase 2: Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Skamania.
Update, Monday, May 4, 6:45 p.m.: Inslee’s office clarified Monday that Phase 1 begins on May 5, and that at this point June 1 is the likely earliest projected start day for Phase 2. Based on a June 1 Phase 2 start date, the projected start dates of phases 3 and 4 that are listed below have been updated accordingly, with the minimum three-week evaluation period in between each phase.
No one is getting a professional haircut before June 1, nor will you be able to sit in a restaurant before then. Missing public libraries or your gym? You’ll have to go at least another month without. Oh, and there will be no big concerts played in Washington at least until July.
As expected, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that Washington’s stay-home order to curb the coronavirus spread has been extended through May 31. However, Inslee also unveiled a four-phase plan that state officials will adhere to as they try to navigate the reopening of businesses in Washington.
Inslee noted that each phase will run for a minimum of three weeks to give officials time to evaluate whether it’s safe to move to the next level. He conceded that it’s possible the four-phase timeline could be accelerated if “we catch some massive break because of climatic conditions or because a cure is found.” But, “We can’t count on that,” Inslee said.
Based on that rough timetable, here’s the best-case scenario of when you can expect various attractions and amenities to reopen in and around the Seattle metro area.
Phase 1 — began May 5
- Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, boating, hiking). Note that camping is still not allowed and state campsites remain closed.
- “Drive-in” spiritual services with one household per vehicle
- Only essential travel
- Essential businesses
- Existing construction that meets agreed-upon criteria
- Car sales
- Retail — only curbside pickup.
- Car washes
- Pet walkers
Phase 2 — earliest expected date for Seattle area based on current data trends: June 1
Exceptions: Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Whitman and Skamania counties have been allowed to move to Phase 2.
What will be allowed:
- All outdoor recreation involving fewer than five people outside your household. Camping and beaches are expected to reopen.
- Gatherings with no more than five people outside your household
- Limited nonessential travel within proximity of home
- All remaining manufacturing businesses
- New construction
- In home/domestic services such as nannies, house cleaning
- Retail — in-store purchases allowed with some restrictions.
- Real estate
- Office-based businesses. Telework remains strongly encouraged.
- Barbers, hair and nail salons
- Restaurants — must operate at under 50% capacity, with table sizes capped at parties of five.
Phase 3 — earliest expected date based on current data trends: June 22
What will be allowed:
- Outdoor group recreational sports activities — capped at groups of 50 people.
- Recreational facilities such as public pools — operating at less than 50% capacity
- All gatherings capped at 50 people
- Nonessential travel can resume
- Restaurants can operate at up to 75% capacity, with table sizes capped at parties of 10
- Bars at under 25% capacity
- Indoor gyms at under 50% capacity
- Movie theaters at under 50% capacity
- Government offices open. Telework remains strongly encouraged.
- All other businesses other than nightclubs and events with more than 50 people.
Phase 4 — earliest expected date based on current data trends: July 13
What will be allowed:
- Public interactions will be allowed to resume, though physical distancing should still be observed.
- All recreational activity can resume
- Gatherings of more than 50 people can resume
- Concert venues
- Large sporting events
Social distancing and good hygiene habits must continue.
For parents already weary from weeks of juggling work with home-schooling their children, the governor offered this hopeful note: “There’s a very good chance schools will reopen in the fall. I’m very hopeful that is the case,” Inslee said. “What we do in the next several weeks will have a large impact on that decision.”