OLYMPIA — Despite phase two of Washington’s reopening only days away, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday some counties won’t be able to open small businesses — like barbershops, hair salons and in-store dining — on June 1 under his four-part coronavirus plan.
“Counties that continue to have large numbers of infections are not in a position to open up stores, restaurants and services safely,” Inslee wrote in a statement.
The announcement didn’t say which counties would see those delays. But Inslee’s office released numbers ranking counties by the criteria he used earlier this week to make 10 additional counties — including Clark, Kitsap, Spokane and Thurston — eligible to start the second phase before June 1.
That criteria permits counties with fewer than 10 new confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents across a 14-day span to request that state health officials allow them to move to the second phase.
That list shows a cluster of Eastern Washington counties faring the worst over the two-week period leading up to May 17. Yakima County ranked worst on the list: it saw 1,043 new cases during that stretch, or roughly 408 cases per 100,000 people.
King County ranked ninth-worst on the list, with 868 confirmed cases in that two week stretch, for 39 cases per 100,000 people.
Snohomish County ranked 12th-worst, with 255 cases over those two weeks, for 31 cases per 100,000 people.
Friday’s decision was based off those metrics, according to Inslee spokeswoman Tara Lee. But health officials are still discussing additional criteria and more developments could be announced next week, she wrote in an email.
Shortly after Inslee extended the stay-at-home order through May 31, state health officials said June 1 would be the target to begin the second phase if public-health metrics surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak looked favorable.
Fourteen of Washington’s 39 counties have now received permission from health officials to start the second phase, which allows a host of small businesses to restart with safety guidelines to protect against the virus.
The 14 counties are: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Lincoln, Lewis, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman. They include an initial round of counties with populations of less than 75,000 and no confirmed cases for three weeks.
Limited restaurant dining and some in-store retail purchases will return in the second phase, as well as businesses including hair stylists, nail salons, barbershops, tattoo artists, professional services, and fitness centers offering small-group sessions.
State health officials on Friday confirmed 148 new COVID-19 cases in Washington, including six more deaths.
That brings the state’s totals to 19,265 cases and 1,050 deaths, according to the state Department of Health’s (DOH) data dashboard. The dashboard reports 3,230 total hospitalizations in Washington.
Inslee on Friday also sent a letter to the Trump administration asking for more funding and an extension of authority to use Washington National Guard members to help with the state’s response to the pandemic.