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:
6/24/2020
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.

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

Inslee issues Safe Start proclamation for county approach to re-opening

May 31, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today issued his Safe Start proclamation as the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is set to expire tonight at 11:59 PM. 

The governor announced Safe Start — Washington’s Phased Reopening plan on Friday during a press conference where he detailed the county-by-county approach. 

“Thanks to Washingtonians pulling together, we can transition fully to our county-by-county approach to safely reopen,” Inslee said. “If we remain diligent and committed to more effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will continue to save lives and open up more businesses while protecting our friends and neighbors.”

Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically. 

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 announces religious and faith-based services guidance

May 27, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for restarting religious and faith-based services for Phases 1 and 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan. 

Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.

“As I have said before, this crisis may affect our ability to physically connect but it should not affect our power to strengthen our emotional connections,” Inslee said during a press conference Wednesday. “I have been heartened to see the ways religious groups found to not only continue to connect, but to give back and to support their communities in this time of suffering and uncertainty.” 

The religious services covered include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings and funerals.

The guidance is available here.  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 Announces Restart of all Medical Services in Washington

May 18, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for all elective procedures to resume. Each medical or dental practice will assess their own readiness and their communities’ COVID-19 activity to determine whether, and to what degree, they will reopen.

“Our health care system was one of the first in the nation to be hit with COVID-19 cases when there was much we were still learning about the novel virus. Because of the great work of our health care system and communities, we managed the peak of COVID-19 activity in April without having a crisis in our hospitals,” Inslee said. “This plan was developed with many partners in our health care delivery system — including nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, dentists, community health clinics and hospitals.”

Aside from being determined by the COVID-19 activity in different regions of the state, the reopening of health care services are based on three standards of care. Readiness will be determined by the availability of PPE, hospital capacity and more. 

Under this plan, each health care or dental provider must meet certain criteria to be able to begin performing elective procedures. Each provider evaluates their readiness to begin and must maintain standards to continue to see patients. Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136

Chelan County Press Release

Public Notice relating to Chelan-Douglas County Phase 2 Proposal Letter to Governor Inslee

May 14, 2020

During our Wednesday, May 13th Chelan County Commission meeting, Chelan and Douglas County Commissioners approved a detailed proposal requesting that our two-county region be allowed to move to an incremental version of Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Washington plan as soon as possible. Included in the packet are letters of support from local governments, small businesses, faith leaders, and other community leaders and organizations.

Letter to Governor – Phase Plan PDF

Chelan and Douglas Variance Request PDF

Inslee Signs New COVID-19 Order for Phased Re-Opening of Washington’s Economy

Safe Start Washington – A Phased Approach to Recovery

May 4, 2020

Some businesses could re-open as early as this week under the new COVID-19 order signed by Gov. Jay Inslee today. The state’s “Safe Start” plan is a phased approach to re-opening Washington’s economy.

Under the plan, smaller counties can apply for a variance from the order which would allow them to open even more businesses than allowed statewide.

Safe Start sets a careful approach to emerging from the pandemic. It allows for modifications of business closures and physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. 

“This phased approach to re-opening our economy will allow us to move forward with a careful and thoughtful balance of our state’s health and economic needs,” Inslee said. “However, if infection rates and hospitalizations for COVID-related issues go up, I would not hesitate to scale these efforts back down to protect public health and save lives.

“I fully recognize the impact this is having on families, workers and businesses, but we have not yet won the fight against this virus,” Inslee continued. “We continue to see infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths across the state from COVID-19.” 

While Stay Home, Stay Healthy is being extended to the end of May, the governor announced his Safe Start plan which amends some components of the original order and allow for a start to re-open the state. 

Through the Washington “Safe Start” plan, more businesses and activities would re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures and health standards in place. Each phase will be at least three weeks — data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.

Read the full Safe Start policy plan here.

Read the full story on the governor’s Medium page.

Public and constituent inquiries | 360.902.4111
Press inquiries | 360.902.4136