Governor Jay Inslee this week paused further reopening of the statewide economy from the COVID-19 virus due to a recent uptick in the number of infections.
The pause through at least July 28 prohibits any county from being able to move to the next phase of Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan.
In a news conference, Inslee encouraged residents statewide to join a movement to begin wearing masks and maintain safe social distancing from each other to slow the spread of the illness. As of last week, Inslee issued an order requiring retail employees and customers to wear masks while shopping.
Inslee did not rule out rolling some counties back in the recovery depending upon what happens with the number of infections statewide in the next few weeks. His considerations include several filters such as hospitalization rates, fatalities, the rate at which infected patients infect others, the availability of test and contact tracing capability and the threats of serious illness for the most vulnerable in the population with compromised immune systems, those age 65 and older.
Inslee compared the virus infection situation in the state to someone facing an incoming ocean tide.
“You can drown with the tide coming in, if you don’t move, even though it’s really slow, just as much … as a big, instant wave,” Inslee said. “And that’s the situation we’re looking at. An incoming tide, in my view.”
Washington Retail has been working closely with the Governor’s office to urge a safe reopening of retail stores in order to gird the state economy from further impacts and to begin rebuilding from the recession. Stabilizing the economy has a direct relationship to the livelihoods of workers and families and the financial health of our cities and communities, from which vital public services are provided.