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King County awaits Phase 2 with plans to distribute 25 million face masks

King County purchased 25 million masks to hand out to people as county leaders attempt to transition to Phase 2.

SEATTLE — King County plans to distribute a staggering 25 million face masks in the coming months. 

Washington's most populated county has applied for Phase 2 and King County leaders say the decision could come Friday.  

The topic of a phased reopening was covered during the virtual Board of Health meeting on Thursday.

"We submitted application for Phase 2. We are still waiting to hear back about that. I'm thinking we will hear back from the state tomorrow," said Patty Hayes, the Director of Public Health - Seattle and King County.

Hayes also said the metrics around issues like health care system capacity look good.

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If King County does move to Phase 2, it would mean restaurants could have 50% occupancy. In-store retail would be allowed, but customer occupancy there would be restricted to 30% of the building's capacity. Staffed indoor fitness studios could reopen with five participants or less. That's just a few of the examples of what could come back as long as a list of Phase 2 requirements are followed.

Testing was also a topic covered during the Board of Health meeting.

According to the Phase 2 application, King County is offering free or low cost coronavirus testing at 17 locations.

When it comes to the county's massive mask order, the first shipment of 1.5 million cloth face coverings arrived. Those masks have already been distributed to 16 cities.

RELATED: ‘Very likely’ Washington schools will reopen before COVID-19 vaccine is released

"I think it will be really important, assuming the application is approved, to remind people we are not done with social distancing and we are not done wearing masks," said Joe McDermott, King County Board of Health Chair.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says the county has made good progress flattening the curve, but with increasing activity comes the need for more vigilance.

King County Emergency Management says it could take about a month to receive and distribute the large order of masks. The county is still finalizing how the distribution plan will work.