LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Snohomish County health officials say Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan will not begin next week as hoped.
Gov. Jay Inslee set June 1 as a tentative date to start implementing Phase 2.
"The curve is flattening down slowly. We're not to the point yet where we can just declare victory and move on because it will come back," said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers in a teleconference with reporters, Tuesday.
Frustrated businesses are left to find creative ways to reopen.
Anna's Home Furniture in Lynnwood opened for its annual Memorial Day sale over the weekend after losing 90% of its business since the statewide lockdown took hold.
"The goalposts keep getting moved and back people are tired of it," said owner Phong Nguyen. "As a family business owner, our employees are struggling, as well. We need to get back to work. We need to put food on our tables."
Snohomish County now has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 20.2%.
Nguyen brought his workers back by declaring himself an "essential business."
"If sleep is essential, then beds and couches must be, too," he reasoned.
The furniture store was stocked with hand sanitizer, customers were required to wear masks and to practice social distancing.
About half the number of customers for a normal Memorial Day weekend showed up.
"It was good to be open again," said Nguyen. "It was obvious that our customers want to get out and shop. The governor is not thinking about small businesses. We want to keep everybody safe but we can do this slowly and gradually if he'd just let us do it."
While hospital capacity and the amount of personal protective equipment are both in good shape, Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said only about half the number of coronavirus tests that are needed to meet state guidelines are currently being conducted.
The biggest problem, though, remains the number of positive cases.
Right now, the county is seeing about 300 cases every two weeks. That number needs to be no higher than 80.
County officials are hoping there could be some wiggle room.
"80 is the goal," said Spitters. "If we have trouble achieving it we will talk to the state about whether the strength of our overall response capacity will permit us to move ahead."
There still is no firm timeline for when Snohomish County will be able to move to Phase 2.