Adams County to move on to Phase 2

by Rachal Pinkerton
Staff Writer | May 22, 2020 2:35 PM

OTHELLO - The Adams County Health Department has received word from John Wiesman, Washington State Secretary of Health, on Friday, May 22, that Adams County has approval to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan.

On Tuesday, May 19, Inslee announced that Adams County was one of ten counties eligible to apply for a Phase 2 variance. Two days later, the Adams County commissioners issued a press release stating that they had applied for the variance.

As a condition of moving to Phase 2, businesses can only reopen if they can comply with the state guidelines. The guidelines can be found at coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/safe-start.

The Adams County Health Department is required to notify the Washington State Department of Health of any COVID-19 outbreaks within the jurisdiction of the Adams County Health Department with six hours of the health district being notified. The health district is also required to monitor the county for signs of any concerning acceleration of the pandemic and report it.

As part of Phase 2, Adams County residents are allowed to be with five people outside of their own household per week. This includes recreational activities and gatherings. Those allowed to reopen are manufacturing, additional construction phases, in-home and domestic services, retail stores with purchase restrictions, real estate, professional services and office-based businesses, hair and nail salons and barbers, pet grooming, and restaurants and taverns with less than 50 percent of normal capacity and table size no larger than five. Individuals in high-risk groups are encouraged to limit activities outside the home.

Before Adams County will be allowed to move on to Phase 3, they must wait at least three weeks in a monitoring period. Further authorization to proceed must be given by Wiesman.

In the letter, Wiesman said that he may revoke the “variance if circumstances change... such as a significant community transmission, no or minimal access to CVOID-19 testing, inadequate surge capacity in the hospital, inadequate PPE supplies, inadequate case and contact investigations, inadequate isolation or quarantine facilities, or other conditions warranting significant concern.”

Wiesman also said that the governor has the right to re-impose any restrictions he deems necessary.

Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at rpinkerton@suntribunenews.com.