From the Office of the Governor:
Inslee signs new COVID-19 order for phased re-opening of Washington’s economy
Some businesses could re-open as early as this week under the new COVID-19 order signed by Gov. Jay Inslee today. The state’s “Safe Start” plan is a phased approach to re-opening Washington’s economy.
Under the plan, smaller counties can apply for a variance from the order which would allow them to open even more businesses than allowed statewide.
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.
Read the full Safe Start policy plan here.
Read the full story on the governor’s Medium page.
Inslee extends ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ through May 4
Gov. Jay Inslee announced a month-long extension of his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order Thursday evening. The order, which banned all gatherings and temporarily shuttered non-essential businesses, will continue through May 4.
“Epidemiological modeling from the University of Washington predicts we will have at least 1,400 deaths this year,” Inslee said. “We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modeling we’ve seen could be much worse if we don’t continue what we’re doing to slow the spread.”
Public gatherings remain banned and non-essential businesses may reopen May 5. If gatherings are held in violation of the order, individuals are encouraged to notify their local police department. Do not call 911.
The state Department of Commerce is providing guidance and assistance to businesses on whether they can be considered essential and other resources they may access to help during this time. Residents or workers concerned about non-essential businesses remaining open may file complaints at this link.
“We have taken dozens of steps under my emergency powers to help people in this time – including moratoriums on evictions, mortgage forbearance, utility ratepayer assistance, unemployment extensions, flexibility on tax payments and cash assistance to families,” Inslee said. “We will do more.”
Part of that effort is the sacrifice of business owners who had to shut down and of their workers who struggle to pay bills, Inslee said, and it is important for us to work toward coming out of this statewide shutdown. For example, the administration is engaging in productive conversations with industries to devise a safe way for them to get back to work when we can lift that part of the order.
In addition to the extension of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” the governor signed a directive to the Department of Enterprise Services and the Emergency Management Division to secure personal protective equipment as expeditiously as possible.
Also Thursday, Inslee announced a delay in the implementation of new state building codes from July 1 to Nov. 1 to provide adequate time for training and outreach that was interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. These codes relate to construction and occupancy of residential and commercial structures throughout the state. Read that proclamation here.