UPDATE: Haircuts, outdoor dining, more: With state’s stay-home order ending, King County’s reopening plan seeks ‘modified Phase 1’

4:01 PM: A little over an hour ago, Gov. Inslee announced the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” will end Sunday night as scheduled, and will be replaced with new directives and a county-by-county philosophy for reopening. So King County Executive Dow Constantine and health leaders are speaking now about this county’s next steps. We’re adding notes as it goes.

First – a news release is now out – here’s the full text:

King County Executive Dow Constantine, in consultation with Public Health – Seattle & King County leaders, announced that pending state approval, King County will begin to re-open some business activity with limited or modified openings for a number of sectors.

Working with community, business, and government partners – including the County Council and Board of Health leadership – King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that the county is prepared to move forward to allow limited or modified openings for several business sectors and personal activities.

King County has not yet met key criteria to enter Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan and case counts are still unstable, so it will move forward with a modified approach, including partial re-opening of the following businesses and activities:

Recreation and fitness
Only allowed outdoor with 5 — not including the instructor — or fewer people outside of household

Gatherings
Only allowed outdoor of 5 or fewer people outside the household

Additional construction
As outlined in Phase 2 guidance

Manufacturing operations
As outlined in Phase 2 guidance

Real estate
25 percent of building occupancy
Indoor services limited to 30 minutes

In-store Retail
15 percent of building occupancy
Indoor services limited to 30 minutes

Personal Services (clarification: barbers/salons are part of this category)
25 percent of building occupancy

Professional services
25 percent of building occupancy
Indoor services limited to 30 minutes for customers

Photography
As outlined in Phase 2 guidance

Pet grooming
25 percent of building occupancy

Restaurants
No indoor dining allowed
Outdoor dining is permitted but seating at 50 percent of existing outdoor capacity.

King County will continue monitoring progress over the course of two weeks, and if metrics are more stable and meeting the state’s criteria, more businesses and activities will reopen in accordance with Phase 2.

“Thanks to the people of King County, whose united efforts have flattened the curve and saved thousands lives, we are ready to continue safely, carefully reopening our economy,” said Executive Constantine. “Our continued vigilance against the virus can help make this a one-way journey from lock-down back to prosperity, and I’m excited that folks will soon be able to support our local businesses by doing simple things like dining at an outdoor restaurant, getting a haircut, or shopping for a summer outfit.

On May 27, Public Health – Seattle & King County released a new dashboard featuring key Indicators, with targets that help inform reopening decisions. Based on trends toward all the targets, public health officials and policymakers believe these openings, done safely, will enable much-needed economic activity while also protecting the public and managing the spread of disease in our community.

“Working together, King County residents have made real progress in decreasing the number of COVID-19 cases and the burden on our healthcare system, allowing us to move forward cautiously at this time,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public health – Seattle & King County. “The virus continues to circulate widely and most of us remain susceptible. With increased activities at work and other settings, there will be more opportunities for the virus to spread, so it’s absolutely essential that we sustain significant changes in how we go about our lives for the foreseeable future.”

With the limited re-opening, maintaining the safety principles that led to the success against the outbreak has never been more important. These include continuing to practice physical distancing of 6 feet or more, minimizing contact with others outside the home, frequent hand washing or sanitizer, use of cloth face coverings in public, and avoiding group gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces.

With testing increasingly available in King County, it’s critical that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 seek a test immediately. Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear is important to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community. Public Health’s COVID-19 website has more information about the testing, including to get tested.

4:05 PM: Constantine says all of this is a “big step” toward recovery, though the cost of the outbreak has been “devastating.” Though the county doesn’t fully qualify for Phase 2, things are “moving in the right direction.” He says this can be a “one-way journey back to prosperity” if everyone continues to act prudently and safely.

Next up: County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. He says this is a manageable level of cases but would like to see fewer.

In Q&A: Constantine says he’s confident that vigilance, plus contact tracing when there’s an infection, can work to keep the disease’s numbers down from hereon out. If anyone can do it, he says, King County can.

What about new CDC guidance advising that people drive to work alone? Constantine says it’s “not realistic to think that everyone in our region is going to be able to drive alone to work” so they’ve one everything they can to make transit safe. He says in particular, because of the West Seattle Bridge, our area will require more transit to get around (Water Taxi as well as buses).

What about high-risk people? They’re still at high risk, Dr. Duchin says, so advice continues that they stay home as much as possible. In response to another question, he says he beiieves what the county’s seeking is “appropriate.” He also reiterates the importance of getting tested quickly, and isolating if you’ve been exposed.

In response to two other questions, a timeline: They expect it’ll be a “few days … once we get the documentation together.” What about zoning to allow more outdoor dining? For the cities, it’s up to them; the county only has zoning jurisdiction for the unincorporated areas (such as White Center).

4:30 PM: More on the timeline – a statement from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says she was told the county will apply on Monday. So theoretically – within a week.

Asked about testing availability, Dr. Duchin says they’re continuing to work on expanded availability, and there should be more information about that on Monday. (The list he mentioned includes the new Friday testing at South Seattle College.) They’re already working on home testing.

At 4:37 pm, Constantine wraps up with words of gratitude. “Everybody stepped up in King County” to fight the outbreak. “We fought it, and got ahead of it, and we’re going to keep fighting it.” He says the trip “from lockdown to prosperity” needs to be a “one-way trip” … with “sustained control of this virus. … I am very confident that we have what it takes to keep this under control.”

Next up, a media briefing with Mayor Durkan. We’ll be covering that separately – it’s starting around 4:45 pm.

44 Replies to "UPDATE: Haircuts, outdoor dining, more: With state's stay-home order ending, King County's reopening plan seeks 'modified Phase 1'"

  • Renate May 29, 2020 (4:14 pm)

    How about closing California nightly from Edmunds to Genesee and allowing restaurants to set up outdoor dining

    • Tony May 29, 2020 (4:38 pm)

      Great idea! 

    • Natinstl May 29, 2020 (4:49 pm)

      I’d be down with that.

    • Plf May 29, 2020 (4:53 pm)

      I like the idea of closing California for outside sitting try it a couple of nights and see if it is viable for the owners good idea 

    • Trritch May 29, 2020 (5:00 pm)

      Great minds think alike, I was thinking that same! Other cities are doing that!! I would really help!! 

    • Brad Knife May 29, 2020 (5:08 pm)

      I’m hoping that’s what they do, too.

    • Mita Padhi May 29, 2020 (5:42 pm)

      Love this idea! Huge fan! How do we get this going?? 

    • LG May 29, 2020 (6:30 pm)

      What about the rest of the restaurants in West Seattle not by the Junction?

      • AMD May 29, 2020 (7:47 pm)

        I’m good with closing all the streets near restaurants and having open seating everywhere.  We could have “Stay Tasty” streets to go with the “stay healthy” ones.

        • Tasty take-over May 29, 2020 (8:35 pm)

          Hope someone out there is making some ‘stay tasty’ board signs right now ; ) 

      • K May 29, 2020 (11:25 pm)

        I actually suggested this to the junction association a while ago! 

    • Mark Schletty May 29, 2020 (6:34 pm)

      While this seems at first glance to be an interesting idea, I continually wonder why so many people think nothing of those of us who can not walk very far. I like those restaurants too, and used to dine at them. It doesn’t seem very fair that those of us with mobility issues would not be able to join the rest of you. We are restricted enough without this.

      • Sunflower May 29, 2020 (7:50 pm)

        I hear you, and understand the concern. However, there are cities all around the world, also with people who have mobility issues, that are far less car-centric in their design. Somehow, more car-free zones, works in many other places.

        • Mark Schletty May 29, 2020 (8:26 pm)

          Sunflower- I know other cities do things like this, but I have no idea how well, if at all, it works for the mobility impaired. What I do know, and have seem a number of times in other U.S. cities, is that closing off business streets to vehicle traffic ends up killing the businesses. That is why the Junction businesses have opposed even losing any parking. All of the rest of us who don’t live at the Junction, and the businesses, need us to have access to these businesses.

          • Sunflower May 30, 2020 (9:29 am)

            These are important considerations, and I agree accessibility needs should be considered. Also limit this to areas where it makes the most sense, and likely successful for those businesses.

            Right now solutions are needed for restaurants to be able to stay in business during this pandemic, and for people to be able to dine out safely. Sidewalk space likely will not be enough for the number of tables restaurants would need for business, while also allowing pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks.

            Do you have any suggestions for how to move forward with this while also making accommodations for people with mobility challenges? I wouldn’t want you to not be able to access places. Hopefully there are solutions…

            What do those with mobility challenges typically do when there isn’t a spot outside of a business, during busier times? Could using a walker or crutches help? Would it help if parking on the nearest streets around the closed off area were reserved for people with mobility issues? Others could park and walk further?

            I wonder what people with mobility issues in car free cities like Venice do?  

            We may be in for some major changes and adaptations in our society, after developing so much around car usage, and recognizing the long term issues with this.

            Some articles that may be of interest…

            https://medium.com/connecting-cities/living-in-a-city-with-no-cars-dd4533974517

            https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191011-what-happens-when-a-city-bans-car-from-its-streets

            https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/pandemic-shows-what-cities-have-surrendered-cars/610423/

            https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/coronavirus-street-closures.html

          • M.B. May 30, 2020 (8:45 pm)

            What do many of us with disabilities do when there isn’t parking nearby? We risk our bloody necks trying to get dropped off with our walker at the corner and block traffic, or use a 3 minute drop zone. That is, of course, IF we have someone to drop us off who is willing to go park a block or more away. Then we sit out in the cold and rain while waiting to be picked up afterwards.Or, we GO HOME AND GET LEFT OUT AND ISOLATED AS WE SO BLOODY OFTEN DO BECAUSE OF ABELIST CRAP.

          • Sunflower May 31, 2020 (7:14 am)

            Thanks for sharing regarding this challenge. Maybe if certain roads are closed to through traffic for dining districts, there could be a zone down the middle where cars are allowed to drive and temporarily park, just for picking up. Or designated parking around the perimeter. You shouldn’t be left out or isolated.

          • Mark Schletty May 30, 2020 (4:14 pm)

            Sunflower— thank you for your considered response. Each person with mobility limitations has a different situation. What will work for me might not for another. Personally my problem is that I can not walk very far without debilitating back pain, so walkers, crutches etc don’t help. My solution has usually been to get my wife to drop me off and then she parks and joins me. Problem is she can’t walk long distances either, so sometimes we just have to go elsewhere to find a restaurant with nearby parking. The street closure doesn’t work. It also would prevent us, and anyone else wanting to use the short term park and pick up to go spots, from getting food. This would really be a bad deal for us, and it would probably hurt restaurants doing pick up more than some street seating would help. Also remember that there are a lot of businesses in this area that are not restaurants. Closing the street would deny street parking access to those businesses, which would adversely affect them. How is it fair to hurt many businesses in order to maybe help some other businesses? I’m sorry that I can’t offer any solutions that would include closing the street, at least not in the Junction. There simply aren’t any, especially since, besides the already mentioned problems, California is the main arterial for a huge part of West Seattle. It could be tried in some other areas without causing the same degree of problems.

      • AMD May 29, 2020 (8:01 pm)

        Mark, the parking is what makes a difference in the accessibility of someone with mobility issues, not whether or not you can drive down the street in front of an establishment.  In the Junction, the parking lanes are already restricted to 15-minute carry-out orders only, so you would not be losing any parking options if the whole street were to be opened to diners.

    • Sunflower May 29, 2020 (6:59 pm)

      + 1
      Would be cool to see this across the city… close some dining destination streets between 5-10 or something. We’re behind the world with the whole outdoor dining concept, we need more piazzas!

      Speaking of the world, and in other news, our president has withdrawn the US from the WHO. During a pandemic.

    • Julie May 29, 2020 (9:02 pm)

      I like the idea of closing down california for dining at restaurants.

  • WSR May 29, 2020 (4:21 pm)

    So can the junction streets start regularly closing so that restaurants can expand outdoor seating and regain some more business again?

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (4:25 pm)

      That’s up to the city. Mayor Durkan has a news conference after this so maybe we’ll hear then.

    • Ice May 29, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      Oh my goodness that would be amazing.

  • Alice May 29, 2020 (4:32 pm)

    ^^^ GREAT IDEA

  • Loni May 29, 2020 (4:38 pm)

    Thanks, WSB, for taking and providing such great notes! 

    • Sunflower May 29, 2020 (7:04 pm)

      Yes, thank you WSB!

  • Chivahn Wilkens May 29, 2020 (4:56 pm)

    Hi! Would love a source for the clarification that salons are Personal Services and not Professional. I specialize in color and that can’t be done in 30 minutes. Thanks! 

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (5:28 pm)

      The county executive himself said it in the briefing, which is why I added that note.

    • Donna Raphael May 29, 2020 (6:55 pm)

      Yeah, even though I do both cut and color, being available for services that are only 30 mins or less would not be cost effective for my salon – long hair and color take time. And we are an 8 chair salon and only being able to service at 25% occupancy would only cost us more in terms of additional water and electrical than we would be able to make in a day. The only places this works for are barbers and fast cuts places. 

      • Chivahn Wilkens May 29, 2020 (10:51 pm)

        Luckily I’m a 1:1 salon so my number of people I can take won’t change (I don’t double book) but I can’t control what the other people in the other units in the building do and apparently it’s 25% capacity by building Fire Code. I know the ladies in the Cosmos of WA United FB group are looking into getting clearer wording.

  • JeffreyC May 29, 2020 (4:58 pm)

    I’m a hairstylist.  Look at the personal services category. We get to open at 25% capacity. My last day at work was March 14th.  My unemployment inexplicably stopped. Next week I can’t pay rent, car payment, or credit card.  And on June 20th, I get a check for 25% my normal pay!

    • Donna Raphael May 29, 2020 (6:57 pm)

      Make sure to appeal to the Unemployment department! There’s been a lot of fraud lately and they went a bit crazy with shutting off a lot of people’s unemployment with no notice or explanation.

    • Sunflower May 29, 2020 (8:34 pm)

      You have to file a claim every week, have you been doing that? There are protections for renters right now.  Make sure to tell your landlord in writing that the reason you can’t pay rent is due to covid-19, and they should work with you to allow you to pay later.

  • Jsw May 29, 2020 (5:02 pm)

    What about social gatherings? Do we still have to wait for modified phase 1 approval to be able to have outdoor gatherings of 5 or fewer people outside our household?

  • Thd3 May 29, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    Dining out on california is absolutely genius for restaurants bars and if you cannot walk or metro there then Uber or Lyft!  See how it’s a possibility rather than an obstacle 

    • Mark Schletty May 29, 2020 (10:13 pm)

      THD3- have you ever heard of COVID 19? None of those options are safe for at risk people. Even the CDC is advising using private vehicles instead of transit or uber or lyft or any shared cars including carpooling. Outside dining car be accomplished without closing streets.

      • CAM May 30, 2020 (3:09 pm)

        Mark – if you’re high risk then you should probably avoid these situations anyways. I wouldn’t want my loved ones who are high risk dining out right now. 

  • Anne May 29, 2020 (9:54 pm)

    How would this work-close California from Dakota to Edmonds to include all restaurants-would they set up tables in street -under tents/awnings? Would it be weather dependent?  What about those that still  want to pick up–there are 3 min p/u  spots in front of most restaurants—guessing if tables  are in the streets that could be problematic . 

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (11:51 pm)

      No idea, there’s no formal plan/proposal made public yet. I’m thinking Summer Fest-style outdoor cafes BUT keep in mind that social distancing is NOT ending and outdoor spaces would need more elbow room than those of The Time Before …

  • Djake May 29, 2020 (10:28 pm)

    Since stay at home has been lifted has anyone addressed ramping the bus schedule back up again … especially for those of us not wanting to add more vehicle traffic through the neighborhoods?

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (11:38 pm)

      They’ll have to ramp up but as for how soon, TBA. Some of that was discussed at last night’s WSTC meeting (our report is to come this weekend).

  • Jody May 31, 2020 (9:42 am)

    I believe further down in the information on the Phases it states hair salons are still Phase 2 openings.  Unless you can get you clients in and out in 30 minutes you unfortunately can’t open until Phase 2.  It is very confusing with their wording.  The part that says inside services can open in the modified Phase 1 is also very confusing.  Inside services could apply to any company if they want to intemperate  it in their favor.   They need to clarify what they mean by inside services because almost all businesses provide inside services.

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