Snohomish County leaders want to to move to Phase 2 of reopening plan
Last updated 5/28/2020 at 7:15pm
In a reversal from comments made just in the past week about the county not being able to reopen June 1 because of the current rate of new COVID-19 cases, Snohomish County officials today announced their intention to ask the governor to be allowed to move to Phase 2 of the reopening plan.
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Board of Health Chair Stephanie Wright, and County Council Chair Nate Nehring announced their wishes in a joint statement.
"Snohomish County residents have paid a heavy price from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Somers in a news release. "We will respond to the pandemic with everything we have and recover as quickly as we can. We now must move forward with our request to enter Phase II and help our people safely get back to work."
"The Snohomish Health District and its partners have succeeded in preserving the health and safety of thousands in Snohomish County," said Wright. "It is now time for us to move into Phase II and re-start our economy. I will be proposing that the Board of Health consider a variance on Friday."
"It is critical that Snohomish County moves into Phase 2 so that we can begin to provide economic relief to our local businesses, workers, and families who are struggling," said County Council Chair Nehring. "I am proud to join my fellow county leaders in this joint proposal to move us in the right direction and support our local economy."
According to the news release, the county has enough PPE resources, testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine facilities, and hospital capacity to meet a potential surge.
The decision to apply for a variance from Gov. Jay Inslee's reopening plan, to allow the county to move to Phase 2, will need to be approved by the Snohomish Health District Board of Health and the Snohomish County Council. Both bodies have called for emergency special meetings on Friday to consider the proposal.
"If Snohomish County is allowed to move to Phase II and beyond, it will be important to avoid a spike in infections and the likelihood of reverting back to Phase I," the news release said. "COVID-19 will be a threat for some time, but Snohomish County is now better prepared to manage the threat."
Under Phase 2, certain businesses like housecleaning, hair and nail salons, pet groomers, real estate, and restaurants at 50% capacity of less would be allowed to reopen.
Several counties in Washington have already been approved to move to Phase 2; they are mostly located in eastern Washington and on the Olympic Peninsula.