Washington Goes From “Stay Home” to “Safe Start” of Economy
So long, "Stay Home, Stay Healthy", hello, "Safe Start -- Washington's Phased Reopening."
"Stay Home, Stay Healthy" expires on Sunday, so Gov. Jay Inslee today laid out plans for where we go from here in the COVID-19 conundrum.
Each county will be required to comply with the requirements of their respective Phase, with any differences approved by the Secretary of Health. Benton and Franklin Counties are both in Phase 1, and will stay there until at least Monday.
The plan is to move Washington through the phased reopening on a county-by-county basis. Each county would start June 1 in their current Phase but would be able to apply to move between the phases or add new business activity.
Gov. Inslee will issue a new proclamation to continue the phased reopening, county-by-county approach, and business reopening requirements.
According to an outline posted on the state's website, "In this new approach, counties will now have more flexibility and the ability to apply to the Secretary of Health to demonstrate they can safely allow additional economic activity based on target metrics and a holistic review of their COVID-19 activity and ability to respond."
How will the county-by-county boogie begin? Starting on June 1, any county can apply to the Secretary of Health to move to the next phase. (Ready to go there, Benton and Franklin Counties?)
The application must be submitted by the County Executive, in accordance with the instructions provided by the Secretary of Health.
The Secretary of Health will evaluate the application of each county based on how their data compare to the established targets needed to move forward, their ability to respond to situations that may arise in their county, including outbreaks, increased deaths, health system capacity and other factors. The overall phasing in plan can be viewed in full, here.
Of note, these factors and metrics are intended to be applied as “targets,” not hard line measures. The identified actions each contribute to reducing risk of disease transmission, and are to be considered in whole.
Where one target is not fully achieved, actions taken with a different target may offset the overall risk.
A final decision on whether a county is ready to implement a variance program rests with the Secretary of Health.
The secretary may approve a county moving in whole to the next phase, or may only approve certain activities in the next phase.