OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) says all counties in the state will "probably" not be able to safely reopen stores, restaurants, and services when Gov. Jay Inslee’s current “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order expires on May 31.
Some counties continue to have large numbers of new COVID-19 cases and will not be in a position to move onto to next phase of reopening, according to DOH.
Officials previously said June 1 would be the earliest the state would move on to Phase 2. Phase 2 of Washington’s four-phase recovery plan allows for gathering with five people or fewer per week, increased outdoor recreation, along with more businesses being allowed to resume operations, including restaurants at 50% capacity.
“We will continue to open slowly and cautiously, making decisions that are driven by public health data and science,” the DOH said in the blog post.
Gov. Inslee is "working to figure out" what the next steps will be when the order expires.
As of Tuesday morning, a total of 21 counties have been approved to move into Phase 2 of reopening: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Whitman.
Three counties – Clallam, Kitsap, and Thurston – are eligible to apply for a variance to move to Phase 2.