Reopening Washington - A Phased Approach

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Wondering when your hair stylist can open or when you can eat out at your favorite restaurant? The state's four phased approach to reopening details when various industries can open and how they will do so.

Updated May 20: Gov. Jay Inslee's phased approach to how Washington state will reopen businesses and modifying physical distancing measures.

Businesses are expected to implement any additional requirements developed specifically for their industry. Moving forward, there will be four phases allowing more areas of the state to re-open after each phase. A minimum of three weeks is required between each phase.

Phase 1: The state entered Phase 1 on May 5.

Phase 2: King County entered Phase 2 on June 19.

Additional expansions of outdoor recreation activities would be allowed, as well as small gatherings of 5 or fewer people, new construction and in-store retail purchases with health restrictions. Barber shops and salons could reopen and house cleaning services. Restaurants could reopen with 50% capacity and table size no larger than 5. Some professional services and offices could open as well, even though teleworking would remain strongly encouraged. Pet care services including grooming could resume.

Phase 3: Gatherings of 50 people or less, including sports activities, would be allowed, and non-essential travel could resume. Restaurants could move up to 75% capacity and tables up to 10 people, and bars at 25% capacity; gyms and movie theaters could reopen at 50% capacity; retail, libraries, museums and government buildings could reopen. Recreational facilities like pools could open at 50% capacity. Nightclubs and entertainment venues would still not be able to reopen.

Phase 4: Would involve resuming the majority of public interactions. Gatherings of more than 50 people would be allowed, but still while practicing social distancing. On June 27, Gov. Inslee and Sec. John Wiesman put a pause on county progressions to Phase 4.

Every phase will still require social distancing and appropriate health precautions including the use of personal protective equipment in a number of workplaces. Watch Gov. Inslee’s press conference.

Essential Business Guidance

Many parts of the economy are already allowed to operate safely as essential businesses. For a list of essential businesses click here.

Challenge Seattle and the Washington Roundtable have developed a business checklist which is a great starting point for businesses as they prepare for a Safe Start. Our shared goal is to establish clear requirements that everyone can understand and apply — employers, workers and customers.

These phases depend on continued success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and meeting four capabilities including:

  • health care system readiness
  • testing capacity
  • ability to do contact investigations
  • ability to protect high-risk populations.

Find more information on that here:

Not every part of the state is experiencing #COVID19 the same way. County variances are allowed. Smaller counties could reopen. Counties with fewer than 50,000 residents not hit hard by #COVID19 will be able to apply to the Department of Health for a variance that will allow the county to open to the second phase. Cities and counties can also take more strict actions than what the state is mandating. That is up to them based on their public health needs and local decision making.

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