While saying the state has made progress, Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday said there's no guarantee the next phase of reopening the state will occur June 1.
"I can't tell you it's June 1 for sure," said Gov. Inslee.
The governor also hinted he may change one of his requirements for restaurants to offer limited in-house service.
Inslee had said restaurants would be responsible to get names and phone numbers of customers in case they need to be contacted about potential exposure to coronavirus patients. But, on Thursday, he said that requirement could be made into an option.
The governor was joined by members of the retail, auto, and hospitality industries in Washington Thursday to discuss the progress that’s been made in reopening the economy amid the pandemic.
“We know the economic impact of COVID-19 has been severe on businesses and families,” said Gov. Inslee. “Sacrifices across the state of Washington are profound, but we also know we are making progress.”
Renee Sunde, president and CEO of the Washington Retail Association said retailers are adapting and mastering the art of curbside pickup and drive-up service.
“Retailers have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Sunde.
She also said retailers are looking forward to Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan, where they’ll be able to allow a limited number of customers in the store.
Anthony Anton, of the Washington Hospitality Association, says he’s feeling confident about the next phase for restaurants to be able to welcome customers in again.
He says restaurant staff are working hard to be in line with the state’s guidelines for reopening. He also said prior to the pandemic, the restaurant industry already practiced handwashing and extensive sanitation procedures.
“We’re really confident in our ability to open safely…We can’t wait to get our restaurants open in Phase 2,” said Anton.
Another industry hit hard by the pandemic has been the auto industry.
Jen Moran with the Washington Auto Dealers Association says car dealerships have had to adapt to the new normal and are offering more online shopping options, which has also allowed employees to work from home and keep them and customers safe.
Washington state is currently in Phase 1 of Gov. Inslee's Safe Start Washington plan and is expected to move into Phase 2 in June, but as the governor said that's not guaranteed.
Some smaller counties have already been given permission to move into Phase 2.