Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference to announce that Washington's stay-at-home order will indeed be lifted this Monday, June 1, at midnight. Although things will not turn back to “normal,” Inslee is letting each county proceed with his new Safe Start plan, which allows the counties to move on to the next phases on a case by case basis.

Washingtonians hunkered down for another month as they waited to see if the order, originally announced to end May 1, would be lifted on June 1. It seems that Inslee is aiming for the new date.

In a detailed plan laid out by the governor, each county will have to reach certain requirements in order to apply for the next phase.  

Washington’s largest counties including King, Snohomish and Pierce are still in phase 1 of Inslee’s plan. They have “COVID-19 rates of infection that are still above Inslee’s mark for advancing to the next phase,” reports KOMO News.

According to the governor, phase 1 includes some outdoor recreation, with a ban on large gatherings. Certain businesses such as construction, landscaping, automobile sales, and curb-side pick up for retail are permitted.

In Phase 2, outdoor recreation for groups of five or less is permitted, in-store purchases are permitted with some restrictions, and real estate, hair salons, and barbers will resume operations. Restaurants can re-open at half capacity and with a limit of five people per table.

Phase 3 will expand to allow outdoor groups of 50 people; non-essential travel; restaurants open at 70 percent capacity, though with tables limited to 10 people; and opening movie theaters.

Phase 4 will allow public interactions to resume with physical distancing; gatherings of more than 50 people; clubs, concerts, and large sporting events.

According to Inslee's Safe Start program, each Washington county that applies for the next phase in the Safe Start plan has to be allowed by a vote of the county's board of health. 

Other requirements to open counties include a letter from hospitals confirming that they have adequate bed capacity and an affirmative vote by local county commissioners.

Moreover, there must be adequate testing for county residents, the ability to implement contact tracing, isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 patients, and an ability to perform outbreak investigations.

 
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