PHASE 2: King County gets state approval for more reopening

9:01 AM: Just in: The state says King County can move to Phase 2. More info to come…

9:29 AM: Still awaiting King County’s followup announcement. Basics of Phase 2 include 50 percent capacity for indoor dining – see more here.

11:46 AM: For more on what Phase 2 enables, here’s a more-detailed list on the King County Public Health website.

12:33 PM: King County’s own announcement has just arrived. Before that same list, it begins:

Following approval by state Secretary of Health John Wiesman, King County has officially entered Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start recovery plan to allow limited business re-opening. Phase 2 allows for twice the capacity in retail, restaurants, and other businesses previously allowed in King County’s modified Phase 1 and goes into effect immediately.

“Moving to Phase 2 is another step toward economic recovery for our region, but it must go hand-in-hand with even more careful adherence to precautions from our public health experts,” said Executive Constantine. “Wearing face coverings, washing hands, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary contact can help make ours a one-way trip back to prosperity, and prevent the need to go back to stay-at-home orders.”

While there are no additional categories of businesses included in moving from modified Phase 1 to Phase 2, the operating capacity has doubled for those able to reopen. For example, restaurants can now operate with 50% of indoor capacity, and retail with 30% capacity. Businesses with questions on how to safely reopen under the state’s guidance are encouraged to call Public Health’s Business Compliance Line at 206-296-1608.

“We evaluated a number of factors to apply to move to phase two of reopening. Our healthcare system, perhaps the single most important factor, is currently well-prepared to care for COVID-19 cases as well as the other health needs of our community,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Public Health officials recommend that people keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible. Outdoors exposures are less risky than indoors, and improving indoor ventilation is recommended. In addition, people need to wear face coverings in public, wash hands frequently, and get tested at the first sign of symptoms.

“Our cases have declined significantly since the peak of the outbreak in late March, and are now hovering around our target goal,” said Duchin. “Over the past seven days, however, we have seen an uptick in the number of cases compared to the previous week. With re-opening, we anticipated more cases in the community. That is why it is now more important than ever keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible and minimize unnecessary activity, especially people at increased risk for COVID-19.”

“As we move into phase 2 and for the foreseeable future, our risk will be increasing, not decreasing,” said Duchin. “COVID-19 has not gone away and we must take the ongoing risk very seriously. If we are going to be successful continuing to reopen, it’s essential that we do everything we can to prevent COVID-19 spread as we have more contact in social, recreational and work-related settings.”

Still have questions? We’re planning to cover the 3 pm media briefing with Dr. Duchin.

41 Replies to "PHASE 2: King County gets state approval for more reopening"

  • With Caution June 19, 2020 (9:21 am)

    As we get back to work, let’s keep our King County numbers low. Wear a face cover and keep our hospitals from getting overwhelmed.  Check out this report about OHMC, I bet they are not alone still restricting access to PPE. Our surge capacity is not endless.

  • helpermonkey June 19, 2020 (9:37 am)

    we may be in phase 2 now, but please be sensible and continue wearing masks when you’re in crowded spaces. 

  • Friend O'Dinghus June 19, 2020 (10:05 am)

    Gradual re-opening is great IF it is done safely, and that is on each and every one of us individually. Please remember at all times that if you don’t ‘like’ wearing the mask, think about how much you (or a beloved family member or friend) are going to hate that ventilator.

  • Wetandworndown June 19, 2020 (10:28 am)

    Yes! As we get back to work there will be more people on the road. Hello to the Volvo SUV’er this morning raging at other drivers. The 1st Ave bridge up is a major downer when you are trying to get somewhere.  Use your anger toward writing to all of your representatives that the WS Bridge is an emergency, stop  flipping people off. 

    • WSB June 19, 2020 (11:03 am)

      Good reminder. We left the peninsula this morning for the first time in a very long time (to cover the next-up story, the ILWU Juneteenth march). Went to South Park via the Roxbury corridor and took that bridge. 20 minutes from Upper Fauntleroy to East Marginal/Spokane at 8:25-8:45 am. Anyway, we’re ramping up morning traffic coverage starting next week, anticipating more people are returning to workplaces … TR

    • Beth June 19, 2020 (11:15 am)

      @wetandworndown – exactly!
      The anger should squarely be placed at SMT and 4th Ave.
      This situation Highland (1st Ave bridge) will get A LOT worse and lady at least 5-6 years. YEARS
      Raging on people in the same boat is ridiculous. And…pointless.

    • M June 19, 2020 (2:41 pm)

      People should be respectful and not continue to cut everyone off to get in the front of the line. We all have to wait through this traffic. Not sure why so many drivers feel so entitled that they can whiz by others waiting and cut them off. 

      • djmandin June 19, 2020 (9:59 pm)

        Driving all the down the lane, then merging toward the end is actually the proper way to drive.  It minimizes congestion on the road.  It’s called “zipper  merge”

        • No June 20, 2020 (1:45 am)

          Not when traffic is stopped at the four way light at bottom of highland and west marginal. I sat through 7 rotations last night at 5:30z people blocking the road waiting to squeeze in last min causing more of a back up. There needs to be bollards. You commit to the right lane as soon as you’re off that exit. 

        • C June 20, 2020 (3:46 am)

          Not sure the “zipper” counts as it was intended for highways and this has a stoplight where the merge is. Just creating more backup and angry drivers by going to the end batted I’d waiting your turn. 

        • KM June 20, 2020 (9:26 am)

          There’s a difference between a merge and a lane change though. I don’t  recall any merges from HPW and Holden to the transfer station yesterday, just lane changes. Many that occurred mid-intersection while blocking intersections intentionally left open by the cars behind them. So, boo to those people!

        • Anna June 20, 2020 (9:50 am)

          Yes DJMANDIN! The less we line up early and act like we own our spot in line and the more we use all the lanes available to us and let people in, the less congestion!

  • Smittytheclown June 19, 2020 (10:45 am)

    First off I want to be clear.  I wear my mask when shopping and when visiting crowded areas.  Question though…..if I wear my mask but someone else chooses not to, aren’t I safe because I am wearing one?  

    • Info. June 19, 2020 (11:16 am)

      Everyone should be wearing a face covering. Source control is where the effectiveness is greatest. Read for your self. You can start with this…

    • HW June 19, 2020 (11:23 am)

      You are more safe than if you weren’t wearing a mask, but less safe than if both people are wearing masks.

    • newnative June 19, 2020 (11:27 am)

      Not exactly. The only masks that are meant to protect you from others is the N95 mask. That means you will be safe from breathing/ingesting the droplets if they’re in the air. The other masks protect others from you, especially if you aren’t symptomatic. That means if you are infected, but don’t have symptoms your droplets are less likely to infect others because they are less likely to travel beyond your mask. That’s why we still need to keep at least 6 feet away, wash surfaces and our hands. 

    • Kris June 19, 2020 (11:32 am)

      According to the CDC, mask use only protects the wearer if you have a N95 rated mask, which are in short supply and needed by healthcare workers. The typical cloth masks are meant to protect others. That’s why it’s so imperative that everyone does their part to protect those around them by warring a mask. It’s a group effort. And thank you for doing your part to help!!

    • Masks June 19, 2020 (11:40 am)

      The more people that wear masks or face coverings the better…

    • Smittytheclown June 19, 2020 (12:42 pm)

      Great info!  Thanks all.

      • Stay well June 19, 2020 (2:37 pm)

        Thanks for asking this smitty, and for everyone’s great responses, I’m encouraged :)

    • heartless June 19, 2020 (1:10 pm)

      “…if I wear my mask but someone else chooses not to, aren’t I safe because I am wearing one?” 

      As others have said, it’s actually the opposite.  Masks tend to protect others rather than yourself.  This is why it’s so aggravating when various people regularly suggest “if people are worried they should just wear a mask!” 

      Once again: wearing a mask protects others–which is why people who don’t wear them are being absolute jerks.

  • Cycleman June 19, 2020 (10:50 am)

    Yay! Ready to get everybody back to work and get this economy pumping. Stay safe everyone and let’s do this. 

  • Michael June 19, 2020 (11:39 am)

    Has there been any indication when playgrounds will open back up? I haven’t been able to find anything specific on Inslee’s phased plan documents or from Seattle parks.

  • Rick June 19, 2020 (12:10 pm)

    Common sense would help a lot but unfortunately it’s not so common anymore.

  • Lola June 19, 2020 (12:18 pm)

    I don’t get the whole Parks thing closing down the Parking Lots?  I go past the Lincoln Park ones on a daily basis and the Parks are still open for people wanting to Walk or Jog thru them so why close down the Parking lots?  I just don’t get it.  Yesterday at 5:30 PM was the first day that I had seen a line forming or the Ferry.  Well because the lots are closed a lot of people have been parking over in the Ferry lane.  It was all the back to the second Parking lot and a lot of people did not know the line was moving because of the line of cars where people had gotten out to walk into the Park.  It just makes no sense to have the lots closed to me. 

    • Both Ways June 19, 2020 (1:48 pm)

      Durkan keeps playgrounds closed, while attending her own Juneteenth political rally. What’s the message, COVID is only an issue if you have kids who have been cooped up for months, and only an issue if you’re not protesting police, the system, etc. or celebrating whatever event Durkan and Sawant? Hypocrisy much. Typical Seattle.

    • HS June 19, 2020 (2:46 pm)

      If I remember correctly they closed the parking lots to reduce use by limiting, but not prohibiting access. Also they were trying to keep users to neighborhood residents; therefore, to those within walking or biking distance.

  • Jim P June 19, 2020 (1:04 pm)

    To add; To those who think refusing to wear a mask is patriotic or heroic or striking a blow for “freedom”: It is far more patriotic and heroic to protect others from harm.

    To do so is one of the highest goals of patriotism and honor. To give up some of your freedom to save other lives is what this country is supposed to be all about.

    To refuse to protect others for your own convenience is the mark of a coward and a false patriot.

    Show your love of country, show you are a person of honor: Wear a mask!

    • Also John June 19, 2020 (4:09 pm)

      Well said……..

    • The King June 19, 2020 (5:03 pm)

      Or you have a respiratory problem such as asthma, which means wearing a proper N95 mask just isn’t going happen.  Sometimes there are other issues besides someone’s preconceived notion that this all might boil down to freedoms and being patriotic. Look at a box of N95 masks one day and read the precautions. 

      • heartless June 19, 2020 (5:36 pm)

        Nobody is suggesting a N95 mask is necessary…  People are just saying wear a mask in general (homemade cloth is fine!), and ESPECIALLY do so if you have a respiratory problem already!

      • ARPigeonpoint June 19, 2020 (6:07 pm)

        As others noted above, wear a cloth mask. It’s to protect others, not you, and only works if everyone wears one. I have asthma and I wear a mask. 

      • Belv June 19, 2020 (8:09 pm)

        I go to Hiawatha park every day, and ~ 5% of people are wearing masks. Kids on the playground equipment, nobody caring how close they get running down paths, etc. It can only be a small percentage of people who have a respiratory issue. Vast majority just suffer from privilege, entitlement, snowflakism, whatever you want to call it. It is really disappointing. 

        • The King June 19, 2020 (9:06 pm)

          If I went to a park and people weren’t wearing masks and acting as you describe, I would leave. Going back EVERY DAY and then complaining about it? 

      • K June 19, 2020 (8:55 pm)

        Actually, the CDC has recommended all along that the general public not wear N95 masks due to keeping supplies available for healthcare workers. Instead, they recommend any type of cloth face covering. Even covering with a lightweight bandana is far better than wearing nothing. Yes, there are some people out there who cannot wear masks due to certain health conditions. However, I highly doubt this applies to the vast majority of people not wearing masks in public spaces. They are just consciously choosing to be disrespectful to the health of others. 

  • Mj June 19, 2020 (1:53 pm)

    Kids can go to daycare center and are not allowed to use playgrounds?  

    • RSO June 19, 2020 (8:22 pm)

      I have a 5 year old and am also frustrated about the closure of playgrounds without an apparent plan to re-open them, however childcare centers are not a good comparison.  My daughter is in preschool and the list of precautions that they are taking goes on and on…temperature check and health screen at every drop-off and temperature checks throughout the day, all kids ages 3+ have to wear masks, groupings of kids are kept small and consistent day to day, use of slippers that aren’t to be worn outside of the school, hand washing and sanitizing frequently, lunches to be brought in disposable bags…just to name a few. Also, for what it’s worth, the children are no longer using the yard/playground area at the school because they are no longer rotating groups of kids through shared spaces. I don’t know how much of this is mandated and how much is the school being cautious, but obviously there would be no way to replicate this on a playground. 

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