On Friday, Governor Jay Inslee launched his Safe Start reopening plan that replaces statewide stay-home orders with a county-by-county application process. The rate of reopening will be determined by infection and hospitalization rates.
Immediately after the Governor’s announcement, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that the County is going to apply for an intermediate Phase 1.5 reopening. The County is expected to submit its application to the Governor’s office by Tuesday morning. Approval of the application is expected within 24 – 72 hours.
Under Phase 1.5, retailers could allow shoppers inside stores if they did not exceed 15% of the store’s maximum capacity. Shoppers would be limited to 30 minutes in the store. WR has expressed concerns about the ability of retailers to implement this 30-minute limitation to the City of Seattle, King County, and the Governor’s office.
Under Phase 2, retailers are able to open up their stores to up to 30% of their store’s fire code occupancy limits. Both plans require strict commitment to social distancing. King County also requires the wearing of facial coverings.
Washington Retail worked closely with staff from the Governor’s office and the state’s Department of Commerce to develop effective safety standards for the reopening of retail. WR and some of its members also participated in media interviews to explain the impacts of the pandemic on retailers.
Watch here as President & CEO Renée Sunde talks about the pandemic’s impact on retailers statewide on the TVW network. This KOMO TV report addresses the frustrations that Seattle retailers have with the gradual pace of the state’s plan for business reopening.