Spokane County Pursues Opening at a Different Pace
Following actions by the Spokane County Commission and the Spokane County Board of Health,
Spokane County will seek a variance
that would allow our county to open on a different pace
than the rest of the state. The variance request asks the Governor to approve a move to the second phase of the State’s Safe Start Plan immediately.
Phase 2 includes opening retail stores for in-person sales, restaurant with limited capacity seating, new construction, hair stylists and barber shops, house cleaners, and additional manufacturing. Those businesses build on those allowed in phase 1, including landscapers, car sales, and curbside sales at retail locations. In all cases, the plan doesn’t allow business-as-usual, but requires multiple safety measures designed to continue to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Board of Health took its action last night, unanimously approving a
to request the variance after
Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz wrote a
that recommends the Governor consider that request based on a variety of health criteria. Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, Council Member Betsy Wilkerson, and Council Member Karen Stratton are members of the Board of Health and voted in favor of the resolution.
This morning, the Board of County Commissioners also unanimously approved a letter supporting the variance, which must be officially submitted to the Washington State Department of Health. The
also includes confirmation from local hospitals certifying their bed capacity for COVID-19 patient and PPE supplies. With these actions, the variance request will move on for consideration by the state.
Mayor Woodward Supports Variance Plan
Mayor Nadine Woodward also has supported the plan to reopen Spokane’s economy at a somewhat different pace than the rest of the state.
The Mayor—and other community leaders—has pointed to low case counts, available capacity at Spokane’s hospitals, and ramping up of a system to provide “contact tracing” around people who test positive, among others things, to demonstrate that Spokane is positioned well to move onto the next phase.
The Mayor says she remains hopeful that the Governor will support Spokane’s request for a variance. The request is based on the metrics that the governor has focused on to make decisions for our state.
Mayor stresses that for reopening to succeed, our citizens and employees have to do their part. Basic hygiene measures, including hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick, will be critical.
Also, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread in Spokane—and really across the state and beyond. You know the information: Stay at least 6 feet from other people, don’t gather in groups, and avoid crowded locations.