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Thurston County votes to apply for Phase 2 of reopening

The County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to send an application to start Phase 2.

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to send the Washington State Secretary of Health an application to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start Washington” plan to reopen the economy.

Thurston County is one of three counties in the state eligible to apply for a variance to move into the next phase to reopen. As of Tuesday morning, a total of 21 counties have been approved to move into Phase 2.

RELATED: Snohomish County not ready for Phase 2 on June 1, health officials say

“Moving to Phase 2 does not mean we’re out of the woods,” said Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Diana Yu. “Social distancing and other measures remain extremely important for the safety of our community. However, we do have the capacity needed for expanded testing and contact tracing, and we are moving forward thoughtfully and with caution. We meet Governor Inslee’s requirements to begin Phase 2.”

Phase Two of the Safe Start Recovery Plan includes increased openings and/or capacity for retail, restaurants, fitness, salons, pet grooming, and other categories of service. It also allows for gatherings of up to five people outside a family group.

The requirements to apply for the variance include:

  • Fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks
  • Recommendation by the County Health Officer
  • Vote by the County Board of Health and Board of Commissioners
  • Letter from hospitals confirming bed capacity
  • Testing data and information
  • Local capacity for case and contact tracing
  • Isolation and quarantine capacity
  • Ability to perform outbreak investigations

Residents of Thurston County should continue to social distance and to wear cloth face coverings when out in public where social distancing is not possible.

In addition, residents are asked to ‘stay local’ and not travel far from home to recreate or do business. People need to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

The Board of County Commissioners Chair, along with the mayors of the cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Yelm, will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday supporting the decision to apply to move to Phase 2.

RELATED: All Washington counties 'will probably not' reopen on June 1, state says