UPDATE: Governor, trade-association reps talk about business-reopening rules

3:36 PM: All week, the governor has been releasing new business rules, mostly for industries that will be allowed to resume some in-person service in Phase 2 (our area is in Phase 1). Reps of trade associations for hospitality and retail are joining him for this afternoon’s media briefing. We’ll add notes as it goes.

First, the governor says, “There is no economic recovery without a recovery of our health in the long term.”

The Washington Retail Association‘s president Renee Sunde speaks first, noting that “curbside retall” opened in Phase 1, in time for Mother’s Day. “Retailers have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis to serve customers across the state.” As announced earlier this week, Phase 2 will allow some in-store retail. She says retailers big and small are ready to “safely serve” customers.

Next speaker is the president of the Washington Auto Dealers Association, Jennifer Moran. She’s followed by Anthony Anton of the Washington Hospitality Association. “We’re really confident in our ability to open safely,” he says. He talks about some of the new requirements – distance between tables, between waiting guests, Plexiglas between booths, and more. “We’re all in this together … we’re ready to serve.”

Asked by the governor if the new rules are “slowing down” retailers, Sunde acknowledges there’s been a learning curve, but they have to be sure customers are confident they’ll be safe. Answering a similar question, Anton says some menu items developed in the takeout/delivery-only phase – family-style meals, for example – may be keepers. He adds there’s been a lot of learning about things not previously imaginable, such as the right way to wear masks.

Moran also says some of the changes necessitated by new health rules – more online car-buying – will likely remain because they’re going over well with customers.

And Anton says customers can “help save our small businesses” by “being safe in the next few weeks.” The governor notes that June 1 isn’t a sure thing for Phase 2 in many areas but echoes that the state’s residents can help bring reopening sooner rather than later through behaving safely. (He reiterated that later in Q&A, too.)

4 PM: The governor moves to Q&A. First is about the criteria or ongoing reopening. “I think there’s a misperception about the status of the virus in our state.” (At this point, we lost the feed for a few minutes.) He says there’s some cause for optimism but also some causes for concern. Avoiding unnecessary contact with others is a “kind of heroism,” he says, where you’re saving someone but you may never know who.

Next question is about jobs coming back. He says he’s hopeful some are returning now but we’re still a long way – “longer than we would like” – before getting back to normal.

Are hospitals and dentists still “on target” for resuming service next week? he’s asked. No clear answer. Next – he’s asked for an “update on testing.” Inslee replies, “Good news and bad news” – there’s capacity to analyze up to 20,000 tests a day, but “significantly short supply” is still a problem with test-related materials such as swaps and re-agent.

With salons still closed, how does the governor keep his hair short? His wife Trudi Inslee cuts it, he replied.

What about Memorial Day? Inslee says “there’s lots of ways to be outside without breathing on somebody.”

Shortly afterward, the governor wraps with his trademark closing line, “wash your hands,” and is seen on camera re-donning his face covering before the video feed ends.

33 Replies to "UPDATE: Governor, trade-association reps talk about business-reopening rules"

  • Em May 14, 2020 (3:53 pm)

    Absolutely not. We will protest the reopening and boycott all businesses who force their employees back.

    • West Seattle Hipster May 14, 2020 (4:23 pm)

      Speak for yourself, I can’t wait to patronize local small business owners again.

      • NQ May 14, 2020 (7:37 pm)

        Same here.  These businesses will need all the support that they can get. I plan on trying some that I have never visited before!

    • Alki resident May 14, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      Em- you boycott away. I’m sure nobody wants your business. 

    • SO May 14, 2020 (5:30 pm)


    • Um, No! May 14, 2020 (5:31 pm)

      Eh, um, wha? 

    • The Rog May 14, 2020 (7:10 pm)

      Dear Em, I along with my fellow grocery workers have been “forced” to work through the duration of this, and we continue to work. As have the farmers, truckers, nurses, doctors, nursing home workers, gas station attendants, postal carriers, fire department, pharmacies, police, journalists, food banks, and so so many more. Please consider who you are supporting and why. Also consider the strength of a true boycott. How have you been feeding yourself and family? Are you ordering online? Do you wear a mask in public? Are you using toilet paper from a “sustainable” source? We can all talk big talk, but how are we ourselves really walking?How about reach out and learn who in our community needs support and wants to be at work, and find out who needs some time off. I know I’d be pretty happy if I didn’t have to fight appointment windows to get my teeth cleaned, get a haircut, a massage, or just shop and chit chat around a local shop. Seeing my favorite bartender, server, or forest ranger would be stellar too, especially if I had them all to myself because there was a boycott, but let’s be serious- businesses need our support right now. Maybe take it easy on us folks who’ve been in it, and give those out of work a chance to get back on their feet.Thanks, all of the workers

    • Stay well May 15, 2020 (12:15 pm)

      Em, can you clarify and elaborate on your position and your suggestions for re-opening businesses? I’m skeptical that this comment isn’t just trolling.  It’s a generalized and extreme statement, and not being heard from others, even those more concerned about the pandemic and supportive of a strategic approach. So I’m interested to hear your perspective.

  • Cool Rick May 14, 2020 (4:19 pm)

    We absolutely need to move to phase 2 by June 1st, if not earlier. King County has a population of around 2.25 million people and is down to between 40-70 new cases a day over the past two weeks. We’ve had around 500 total deaths, with around 400 of those people 70 and older, and a grand total of 4 under 40. It’s time to end the insanity and move forward as a society in a responsible way. It’s quite clear now that this isn’t nearly as dangerous as initially believed when we first shut down for a wide portion of the population.

    • beanie May 14, 2020 (4:48 pm)

      Your statement implies that the lives of people 70 or older are somehow less important than people 40-70 or under 40. No big deal if it only kills old people? And the deaths are only as low as they are in this state precisely because the state and county have taken such extreme measures to protect the health and safety of its residents. I’m not sure what evidence you’re looking at that suggests almost 90,000 deaths nationwide despite all of the measures taken indicates its not dangerous. From my understanding of the meeting, officials are trying to do exactly what you are suggesting – move forward as a society in a responsible way with June 1st as a goal.

    • Anne May 14, 2020 (5:43 pm)

      Are you serious? Had it occurred to you the reason there hasn’t been higher death toll is beside of social distancing, stay in policy? Do you see reports of how  this virus is now affecting children? Last week just a couple-now over 100-kind of how C-19 started.

  • Jim May 14, 2020 (4:45 pm)

    That is crazy talk, EM.

  • dsa May 14, 2020 (4:58 pm)

    Yeah, who cares for those old folks anyway, bump ‘bump um off.Or everyone under 65 get back to work, and stay away from anyone 65 and over.The state and country seem to now be in a no win situation.

  • sf May 14, 2020 (5:16 pm)

    EM, will you be boycotting all businesses or just those that “force” their employees back?  
    If boycotting only those that are “forcing” their employees back – will you assuming that they are forced, be asking them person or sending out links to an online survey for anonymous responses?

  • TJ May 14, 2020 (5:45 pm)

    So who is “we” Em that will actually protest and boycott businesses returning to the real world that we drastically need to get back to? How long do you expect people to be without jobs and businesses to be able to survive being closed? Hopefully you are not also thinking the federal government should be funding this by writing checks too? They don’t have the money for that and the economic damage from people losing jobs and our kids having to pay for the debt the feds are printing will be brutal. America gives people the freedom to stay inside and hide and boycott businesses, but it also gives the rest of us the freedom to move on from this and live our lives, especially in light of the growing proof this isn’t as dangerous as we were told.

    • Bro, what you smokin? May 14, 2020 (7:42 pm)

      I wanna live inside whatever parallel fake universe you seem to live in TJ, cuz the real world suckssssss right now. 

    • Printer goes BRRRR May 14, 2020 (8:16 pm)

      TJ, “Hopefully you are not also thinking the federal government should be funding this by writing checks too? They don’t have the money for that…”

      Uh, you know the Fed just prints money, right?  Like literally just turns on a machine to print money.  OF COURSE they have money for that.  The rich folks just wanna get richer, that’s all it is.

      especially in light of the growing proof this isn’t as dangerous as we were told.”  Ahahahhahahahahah.  Oh–wait.  You’re serious?  

  • Ant May 14, 2020 (9:55 pm)

    For those so desperate to prove your patriotism and provide business to local merchants, you can buy gift cards. Yes not every penny trickles down to the tipped employee but it does provide some level of cash flow. I think the bigger threat is when the doors to business open and folks don’t patron the establishment because covid rates are not coming down, then what? 

  • JM May 14, 2020 (10:00 pm)

    @TJ…. so happy to know your scientific facts about “this isn’t as dangerous as we were told” are straight from @fox news and @maga cult followers! Sad! 

    • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (7:56 am)

      Actually,  when looking at it objectively and based on the science and data,  TJ is not wrong.  This is still a serious issue but from day one  the continued accumulation of data and what we are learning indicates it’s in fact not as dangerous for “most” people as we were first told. Still dangerous but we have learned a lot about the virus and who is most susceptible over the last few couple of months. For those people who are most susceptible  it’s absolutely very dangerous.  For the majority of the population though, it not as dangerous to them personally. This is not an opinion, this based on the science and data.   But, one has to take emotion out of the equation and simply look at the data.  And pleas,e before people start emotionally going off on me, tell me one thing I said above that is not true based on the science and data we have at this time?

      • Jon Wright May 15, 2020 (9:45 am)

        The problem is that data is still emerging. Now kids, originally thought to be low risk, are getting something resembling Kawasaki Disease. There have been some incidence of strokes in otherwise healthy young people with COVID-19. COVID-19 is turning out to affect much more than  the respiratory system.  It is arrogant to jump to the conclusion that “for the majority of the population though, it not [sic] as dangerous to them personally” because there is still plenty about COVID-19 that we don’t know.

        • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (10:08 am)

          @jon wright  –  I can understand what you’re saying but  strokes and the symptoms similar to Kawasaki Disease in young people are still a tiny tiny fraction of those infected.  I don’t dispute it still very dangerous for some people but I will still stand on my use of the word “majority”.   Again, when we look at the data and knows statistics to date,  the disease has not been as bad as initially predicted.  That’s all I’m saying.    Maybe that changes in the future.  Maybe it doesn’t.   And thank you for responding in a civil and rational manner.   Much appreciated. 

      • john May 15, 2020 (11:06 am)

        OK, this statement of UM, NO! is not based on science or truth, “ it’s in fact not as dangerous for “most” people as we were first told.” Our President told us it would not spread and would magically disappear months ago.  These are ‘facts’ presented by Trump of the science and data at the time.

        • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (12:09 pm)

          @ John,   what is untruthful about my statement?   When I said “as we were first told”,  I’m not speaking about our President.  I’m speaking about the doctors, scientist,  CDC,  WHO, take your pick.  I’m not making a political statement here.  Since the time  the reality of the pandemic started to sink in and the world started taking it seriously,  data and science have shown it has not been as bad for “most” people as predicted.   I get the infection rate is high and has probably infected a lot more people than we even are aware of of initially thought  but that doesn’t mean the actual effects of the virus have been as bad.  Again,  for those most susceptible, it’s been really bad.  Nobody in arguing that.  But, for the majority of the population the symptoms and effects haven’t been as bad as predicted.  The rate of asymptomatic case or case with very minor symptoms has been much greater than initially predicted.  And in terms of deaths, even those counts are questionable.  Dying “from” the virus is much different that dying “with” the virus. If someone is presumed to have had a Covid symptom when they died,  they are counted toward the Covid death toll even is they have not been tested before of after death. Unfortunately,  the CDC (per their own guidelines) does not differentiate between the two.  And again,  this is political.  This is based on the date and science at this time.  It’s looking at it objectively without inserting emotion or one’s own political slant.  So again, what is untruthful about my previous statements?

          • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (12:33 pm)

            Sorry,  meant to say this is “not” political in the above sentence, “ And again,  this is political. ” 

      • Stay well May 15, 2020 (11:56 am)

        You may be correct in saying the ‘majority’ are unlikely to be seriously impacted if they become infected.

        However, with there being over 300 Million Americans, if 1~ million people were to die from this (just a hypothetical example, which has been said could be possible without mitigation strategies), sure that’s not the ‘majority’ but that would be a lot of people suffering and dying needlessly (since we can take measures to try and reduce the impact) and would overwhelm our medical system, and greatly negatively impact our country.

        I also have to disagree with the perspective that this virus is considered less dangerous than initially thought, because that is the opposite of what I have heard in this.  Initially, it was thought and reported widely that this virus would likely only seriously impact the elderly and those with underlying illnesses.  However, since then, we’ve seen that the virus can seriously impact those without known underlying illnesses, and those in younger age groups.  They also have learned that the virus is more easily transmitted than they initially knew.  And also that some may have longer term lung damage from this virus, which they also didn’t know at the start.  So arguably, the virus isn’t less serious than initially thought to individuals, but more so.  
        The ‘data’ is showing lower cases and deaths than could have been, and this is due to the dramatic strategies that have been implemented (social distancing, stay at home orders, etc.).

        • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (12:27 pm)

          Stay Well,   you’re injecting emotion into this.  If you look at the data (statistics) and science,  my statements are accurate.   I’m looking at this objectively based on the statistical data.  Numbers don’t lie.  You mentioned the virus impacting the young and those without known underlying issues.   While tragic,  those cases are statistically insignificant.  Per out states figures, 91% of deaths are over 60.  52% are over 80.  I’m am making the assumption the rest of the country has somewhat similar numbers.  Again,  taking emotion out of this. Social Distancing has nothing to do with how severely someone reacts to the virus.  Social distancing affects the transmission and infection rate.   Personally, I think the infection rate is hell of a lot higher than we realize.  But, a large percentage of people might have or have had the virus and either had no symptoms or just thought they had a seasonal cold.  If anything, that would just support what I’m saying.  

          • Stay well May 15, 2020 (2:24 pm)

            I am not injecting emotion into this.  I am sharing information as I have heard and understand it.

            It sounds like you are injecting emotion into your argument style, and trying to elicit emotion, and I’m not interested.

            I still agree that you are correct in sharing that the ‘majority’ of people will likely not be seriously impacted. 

            I also still think we should try to mitigate many people becoming sick and dying from this, best we can. Not because I’m ‘emotional’ about it, but because it’s the right thing to do, and more people sick and dying will have great negative impacts on our country.

            Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • john May 15, 2020 (11:19 am)

    It is difficult to assess what the claim of  “safely serve” customers is in the context of opening restaurants.  How safe is “safely serve” when we know that increased interaction and contact spread  the virus? Re-opening is the antithesis of the consistent “stay at home” recommendations of this pandemic. Opening will statistically increase the odds of additional outbreaks.  For those, however few, that become sick, the “safely serve” promise will be little consolation.

    • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (12:57 pm)

      So when do you think we should open restaurants?   At some point, it has to be done.  When is that point?

  • john May 15, 2020 (1:58 pm)

    Each phase will be at least three weeks — data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.” Governor Inslee and “He says he’s hopeful some are returning now but we’re still a long way – “longer than we would like” – before getting back to normal.”West Seattle is just completing its first week of Phase 1, so at least two more weeks before moving to Phase 2 allowing limited restaurant seating.  These are not firm dates as the data and metrics that support our opening are not yet good enough.The point is to save lives immediately and forestall or prevent another surge that could be worse than the initial one.

    • Um, No! May 15, 2020 (3:02 pm)

      Yeah,  I know the Governor’s phased plan.  I was asking when “you” think we should start to reopen restaurants?  It has to be done,  when do “you” think it should be done?    You seemed concerned about the reopening so just curious about your personal thoughts,  not the governor’s plan. 

      • john May 15, 2020 (5:55 pm)

        I trust the Governor is acting in our best interest as he has pledged to do and we elected him to do.  I think we should start to reopen only after our Governor decides.  The Governor is under enormous pressure by the business community to reopen and his caution merits concern.

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