Whatcom County Applies for Phase 2 of ‘Safe Start Washington’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2020
Media Contact: Claudia Murphy, Whatcom Unified Command
Phone: (360) 815-2701
E-mail address: WUC_JIC@co.whatcom.wa.us
Today Whatcom County submitted its application to move to Phase 2 of “Safe Start Washington”. The packet of materials was prepared by the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and approved by the County’s Health Board. The application along with the required statement of support from County Executive Satpal Sidhu was sent to the Washington State Department of Health for approval by the Secretary of Health.
Last Friday, May 29, Governor Jay Inslee announced updated disease activity thresholds for counties to move from the most restrictive Phase 1 into the next, less restrictive phase. On Sunday, May 31 the Secretary of Health provided application packets with new metrics, which delayed Whatcom County’s application by a day. There is no deadline related to this application.
Based on a case count averaging fewer than four new cases per day, health system readiness and other key targets reached, Whatcom County qualifies to move out of Phase 1, in compliance with the new, updated requirements.
“I am very pleased to expedite our county’s application,” said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “It is vital for our county’s health and economic sustainability that we move into Phase 2, and that we do so safely and by adhering to the practices that have enabled us to be ready to move on.”
Approval of the application by the Washington State Department Of Health is expected within a few days.
What will be allowed in Phase 2:
- Social gatherings - inside or outside - with no more than five people per week from outside your household;
- More manufacturing and construction, domestic services, retail stores, real estate services, professional services, nail salons and barbers, with some restrictions; and
- Restaurants can open at 50% capacity, but without bar seating.
What must continue in Phase 2:
- Frequent handwashing and sanitizing;
- Physical distancing, remaining six feet away from others;
- Wearing a mask in public spaces; and, always,
- Staying home and away from others if you have any symptoms of illness.
Once Phase 2 status is approved for Whatcom County, it remains important to follow responsible sanitation and gathering practices, or the virus could surge. A surge in cases could mean restrictive measures return. Additionally, residents can consider keeping a private record of people with whom they have been in close contact, in case they become sick and are later contacted by a WCHD case and contact investigator. The record will help investigators know who else could be at risk.
As it continues to be important to utilize face coverings, those who want to make and donate masks, can do so through the whatcomcovid.com website.
More information about the Phase 2 Application process is available at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/covid-19-county-variance-application-process.
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