Inslee extends Safe Start proclamation, issues facial coverings guidance

July 7, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extension of the Safe Start proclamation until August 6. 

This extension clarifies the interaction between Safe Start and Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman’s facial coverings order. It includes: 

  • The Yakima County business prohibition is extended statewide: No business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct in-person business with a customer in any public setting unless the customer is wearing a face covering (as required, and with the exceptions outlined, in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03;
  • Individuals are prohibited from entering a place of business without wearing a face covering (again, per Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03); and
  • Employers must notify the employer’s local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer’s workplace, or if the employer is aware of 2 or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.

The governor also announced additional clarification today for restaurant and taverns in Phases 2 and 3. This comes as more counties move forward under Washington’s Safe Start recovery plan

Under this guidance, bar-style seating and live music are hereby prohibited in Phase 2 and Phase 3. 

Additionally, restaurants and taverns in Phase 2 or beyond are now permitted to resume self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, and other similar communal food sources and drink stations, subject to business adherence to safety standards.

Find the full memo here.

Find the full guidance here. 

Full list of current reopening guidance.


Positive cases increase 37% since partial reopening on June 10, 2020

July 2, 2020

EAST WENATCHEE – “Masking up is the next best thing to a vaccine right now,” urges Chelan-Douglas Health Officer Dr. Malcolm Butler. “The Governor’s decision to require everyone to wear a face mask in public, especially when social distancing of 6 feet isn’t possible, was the right call,” Butler added. Chelan-Douglas Counties are seeing a significant up-tick in new COVID-19 positive cases.

In an effort to identify the prevalence of mask-wearing in Chelan and Douglas county retail outlets, CDHD began spot checks to do physical counts of mask-wearing for both retail business employees and customers. The first week of data-gathering revealed:

The data was collected at nine retail stores in Wenatchee and six stores in East Wenatchee. The surveys were done prior to the Governor’s June 26 masking requirement. CDHD will continue to survey businesses throughout the two counties to determine the amount of compliance there is with the masking effort and to pinpoint ways to increase education and outreach efforts about the need for masking when in public.

“It’s the air you share,” Dr. Butler added. “We have got to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19 – not only to be able to move fully into Phase 2 of the State’s Safe Start reopening plan, but also to protect our community.” The Health District is partnering with local elected officials, Chambers of Commerce, law enforcement, the ecumenical community and other organizations to get information out to all sectors of Chelan-Douglas counties and to encourage public masking.

“We have heard concerns expressed that wearing a mask could prevent someone from getting adequate oxygen when they breathe,” states Dr. Butler. “The evidence simply isn’t there. A proper fitting mask that covers both the nose and mouth may seem a bit foreign at first, but it does not block an individual’s ability to breathe during normal activities.” Washington State
Department of Health recognizes that there are a few cases where masking may not be recommended, but they are very limited. For more complete information, please visit this link.

As we go into the Fourth of July holiday weekend when the temptation for group gatherings and a relaxation of COVID-19 safe practices may occur, Dr. Butler reminds us all: Be a protector – not an infector. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Full Press Release:
2020-22 CDHD Stresses Importance of “Masking-Up” – English and Spanish

Inslee extends face covering requirement for businesses statewide and halts county advancements

Benton, Franklin and Yakima will move to a modified Phase 1

July 2, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. of Health John Wiesman today announced a statewide requirement for businesses to require face coverings of all employees and customers.

Under this proclamation, businesses may not serve any customer, services or goods, if they do not comply with the state-wide face covering order.

The extension comes in response to growing case counts in counties across the state, and after last week’s proclamation mandating the same requirement of businesses in Yakima County.

“We’re doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state,” Inslee said. “The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shutdown the economy.”

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136

Inslee and Wiesman announce pause on county progressions to Phase 4

June 27, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. John Wiesman announced today the Washington State Department of Health is putting a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 though the “Safe Start” phased approach. Rising cases across the state and concerns about continued spread of the COVID virus have made Phase 4, which would essentially mean no restrictions, impossible at this time. 

Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause. 

“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state,” Inslee said. “We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.” 

“The best thing Washingtonians can do to slow the spread of the virus and save lives is to wear facial coverings, continue to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices,” Wiesman said. “Now that testing supplies are available, it is critical to get a test if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.”

Wiesman sent a letter to local and tribal health leaders throughout the state on Saturday.

The letter states:

“Dear Local and Tribal Health Leaders,

“I am writing to let you know Governor Inslee and I have decided to pause progression to Phase 4 statewide. 

“We decided to prohibit any counties from moving into phase 4 at this time due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state and significant rebounds in COVID-19 activity in several other states. The changes between Phase 3 and Phase 4, especially with regards to gathering size and occupancy rates, could further increase the spread of COVID-19 in our state, even in communities that have very low rates of disease. The progress we’ve made thus far is at risk, therefore we are making the prudent choice to slow down our phased approach to reopening.

“In the next couple of weeks, I will work with Governor Inslee and his team to assess the need for a modified approach for moving beyond Phase 3. I will communicate that decision to you when we have more information. Counties that are currently able to apply to move from Phase 1 or 2 are still able to apply when eligible.

“Thank you for your continued work to protect the health of Washingtonians during this unprecedented time.”

To read the full News Release on the Governor’s website.

Governor’s office public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Governor’s office press inquiries | 360.902.4136
Jessica Baggett, Dept. of Health | 360.789.0058 

North Central Washington Law Enforcement Leadership Group Press Release

Press Release:
In response to many inquiries on the Governor’s recent proclamation regarding face coverings, we want to communicate we will continue to focus on crimes and criminals which impact public safety. The statewide face covering order is a public health and safety measure, it is not a mandate for local law enforcement response. We encourage our community to take the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all.

Statewide Mask Order Goes Into Effect June 26, 2020

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, a statewide mandatory face covering order goes into effect in Washington beginning June 26.

The state order requires all people older than 5 years to wear a mask or face covering when in an indoor public space, or in an outside public space when unable to physically distance at least 6 feet from others. The order is in addition to the other COVID-related guidelines all counties must follow in each phase of reopening. Physical distancing, appropriate and regular sanitation actions, and other requirements are still expected from people and businesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Secretary of Health John Weisman announced the statewide order on June 23. At the time, a mandatory mask proclamation was already in place in Yakima County in response to increasing case counts and a potential to overwhelm the county’s health care system. Following reports of cases increasing in additional counties, the governor extended the face covering requirement to include the entire state.

“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us,” Inslee said during the June 23 press conference. “Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests people wear a mask in public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent studies show a significant portion of people with coronavirus lack symptoms, and others can transmit the virus before showing symptoms.

There are some exceptions to the statewide order, including for those people deaf or hard of hearing who are communicating with others, or for people with medical conditions that make wearing a mask difficult. Children 3 to 5 years old are recommended, not required, to wear face coverings, and those 2 and under should not wear face coverings.

For more information about the state order, visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response website.

For more information about masks, visit the Washington State Department of Health or the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

Inslee announces statewide mask mandate

June 23, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman today announced a statewide mandatory face covering order that will take effect Friday, June 26.

The order comes after a Saturday announcement of a mandatory mask proclamation for Yakima County starting this week. The order was in response to reports of increasing case counts and a potential overwhelming of the county’s health care system. 

After subsequent reports of cases increasing in additional counties, the governor and Wiesman extended the face covering requirement today to include the entire state of Washington.

“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us,” Inslee said during a press conference Tuesday. “Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses.” 

Starting Friday, every Washingtonian must wear a facial covering when in a public space, as mandated by the public health order signed by Wiesman. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces. 

“The science is clear that when we use face coverings, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze. While some of us are wearing face coverings in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Washington’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if, together, we act safely and follow health recommendations,” Wiesman said.

Read the full story on the governor’s Medium page

Additional Farmworker Testing Increases COVID-19 Counts

Chelan Falls Uptick in Case Count

June 11, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – Recent testing at an agricultural congregate housing facility in Chelan Falls resulted in a slight uptick of positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Chelan County. Initial testing showed some workers had positive COVID-19 test results and that led the agricultural facility to test all members of the congregate housing unit. The five (5) farmworkers who recently tested positive for COVID-19 are currenlty in isolation.

Chelan-Douglas Health District is working with the agricultural industry to educate employees and employers about the COVID-19 virus. Public health urges all public members, especially those who are in some way connected to anyone in the agriculture industry, to continue to take public health precautions seriously. These are ways you can help stop the spread:

  • Wear a mask in public;
  • Wash your hands often or use hand-sanitizer;
  • Keep you distance from others in public – 6 feet if possible;
  • Limit entire families going to a grocery store;
  • Avoid social gatherings with people outside of your household; and
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have a fever, chills, dry cough, headache or body ache, recent loss of taste or smell.

Please educate yourself and help educate others. Together, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and work our way towards healthier and safer communities. The Chelan-Douglas Health District urges you to Be a Protector – Not an infector. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

2020-17 Chelan Falls Uptick in Case Count Press Release PDF – English and Spanish

Chelan-Douglas Health District Approved for a Modified Phase 1 Reopening

June 11, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – Yesterday, June 10, at 5:30 p.m., Secretary Wiesman of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) approved Chelan-Douglas Health District’s (CDHD) variance application to move to a Modified Phase I of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan. The approval takes effect immediately and includes specific conditions and limitations for activities and businesses:

Recreation: Outdoor recreation involving 5 or fewer people outside your household (not including an instructor, with 6 foot distancing (camping, beaches, exercise classes, etc.)
Gatherings: Allowed outdoors only, with 5 or fewer people outside your household per week
Travel: Essential travel and limited non-essential travel for Phase I & II permissible activities

  • Remaining manufacturing
  • Additional construction phases
  • In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)
  • Retail – essential or otherwise, may operate at 50% of building occupancy with Phase II requirements regarding physical distancing and other infection prevention measures; businesses are responsible for controlling access appropriately. (Note that building occupancy capacity is based on Fire Marshal’s occupancy limits.)
  • Real estate at 25% of building occupancy; indoor services limited to 30 minutes
  • Professional services/office-based businesses at 25% of building occupancy; indoor services limited to 30 minutes for customers (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Hair and nail salons/barbers at 25% of building occupancy
  • Pet grooming at 25% of building occupancy
  • Restaurants/taverns:
    • All outdoor food and beverage service may operate subject to Phase II guidance at 50% outdoor capacity with all tables/chairs maintaining at least 6 feet of distance and table size no larger than 5 persons. Additional or new outdoor seating would be allowed subject to maintaining 6 feet distance between table and chairs, as well as receiving any city permit needed.
    • All indoor food and beverage services may operate subject to Phase II guidance with the exception that at no time may the number of customers be at more than 25% indoor capacity with all tables/chairs maintaining at least 6 feet of distance and table size no larger than 5 persons. Furthermore, no bar-area seating is allowed.

“Businesses must carefully study and understand the Secretary’s letter and the other advisories which apply to their business,” said Barry Kling, Administrator of Chelan-Douglas Health District. To view a full list of the conditions and the Secretary’s letter, visit: Businesses now closed may reopen as soon as they are able to implement the standards issued by the state and operate within the limitations from the Secretary’s letter as described above. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce has a tool kit for businesses to use to help them prepare for reopening, it can be found at:

This reopening guidance is not only a matter of what businesses do. What we do as individuals counts. “We still need to protect each other – not only because it is a basic civic responsibility but also because controlling COVID-19 is the best way to reopen our community and keep it that way,” added Kling. Here is some guidance for individuals to do to help keep our Valley reopened:

  • Wear face masks in public
  • Maintain at least 6 feet apart from others whenever possible
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Avoid groups of more than five people outside of your household members

For more information about COVID-19, visit and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

COVID-19 Resources:
Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
Chelan-Douglas Health District
Washington State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Modified Phase 1 Reopening Press Release PDF – English & Spanish

Board of Health Approves CDHD Reopening Proposal

Zoom meeting is hacked during discussion

June 5, 2020

East Wenatchee, WA – A special online “Zoom” meeting for the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Health to review the reopening proposal was interrupted by hackers on June 5, 2020. The meeting was reconvened and recorded for members of the public to listen to the Board of Health vote on a new variance request to the Washington State Department of Health for consideration of a modified Phase 2 reopening. You can access the audio file at:
Under the proposal, businesses would be allowed to reopen with reduced customer capacity. This includes:

  • In-store retail: 50% of capacity with social distancing and employee masking and gloves;
  • Personal services & professional services: 25% of capacity;
  • Restaurants: outdoor dining at 50% of capacity, indoor dining at 25% capacity and a requirement that tables be six feet apart;
  • Pet grooming: 25% of capacity;
  • Gatherings: no more than five non-household members attending;
  • Recreation, fitness & camping: outdoor only, no more than five non-household members and maintaining six feet of social distancing.

For a complete list of the reopening provisions and a complete copy of the reopening application, please visit:

Chelan and Douglas counties are among only a handful of counties that remain in Phase 1 under the Governor’s Safe Start order. The Board of Health anticipates hearing soon on the proposal. For more information, visit

Contact: Veronica Farias
Phone: (509) 886-6427
E-mail: [email protected]

Press Release June 5, 2020 PDF