OLYMPIA — Some small-group indoor fitness activities like weight training, yoga and martial arts can resume under the second phase of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-part coronavirus reopening plan.
Inslee’s office issued guidance Tuesday night allowing groups of five or fewer people at gym facilities, or one-on-one fitness sessions by appointment to proceed under the second phase, with safety guidelines. And just as the state was granting some business more leeway under phase two, the state’s AG’s office was again going after businesses that are defying Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation.
Ten small counties have been approved by the state to move to the second phase, with two more small counties eligible to apply. Inslee on Tuesday morning announced that another 10 counties — including Clark, Kitsap, Spokane and Thurston — are eligible to request the permission of state health officials to move to the second phase.
Other counties are expected to move to the second phase on June 1, if public-health data on the virus continues to move in a favorable direction, officials have said.
The guidance comes as at least two fitness centers became a flashpoint of frustration over the governor’s emergency stay-at-home order, which is intended to slow the spread of the virus. Those gyms — in Puyallup and Arlington — reopened in defiance of the order. They agreed to close Tuesday night after being sued by the state Attorney General’s Office. And in Snohomish County, the state Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday delivered a cease-and-desist order to the owner of a barbershop who had refused to close his doors after being warned by the state and the Snohomish Health District.
Robert Daniel Martin, of Stag Barber & Styling, was notified twice in writing by the state Department of Licensing that he was violating Inslee’s order, but he continued to see customers. He did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment about the cease-and-desist order.
Meanwhile, the safety guidelines for fitness training will allow a host of small-group activities — such as weight training, yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, and similar instructor-led classes — to resume in counties approved for the second phase of reopening.
That guidance requires training facilities to develop plans at each location for controlling and minimizing exposure to COVID-19. People will have to stand six feet or more away from each other and wear cloth face coverings.
Such plans must have policies spelling out the use of facial coverings and other protective gear and how physical distancing will be accomplished at each location. It requires protocols for sanitation and disinfection procedures, hygiene, the monitoring of coronavirus-like symptoms and incident reporting.
A copy of that plan will have to be available at locations for state and local authorities to inspect. Failing to meet those requirements could mean sanctions for businesses, including being shut down.
Inslee on Tuesday evening also released safety guidelines to allow real estate firms to open more broadly in the second phase.
Those guidelines allow residential and commercial brokers to resume work in offices under Phase 2, provided people maintain six feet of separation and minimize interactions.
In late March, shortly after his stay-at-home order took effect, Inslee issued clarifications that allowed some real estate transactions to continue.
A full list of reopening guidelines for various businesses can be found at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources/covid-19-reopening-guidance-businesses-and-workers.
Business owners and operators with questions about the guidelines or financial assistance can ask the governor’s office here: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/2562f1caf5814c46a6bf163762263aa5.
Staff writer Nicole Brodeur contributed to this report.