Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday stated that a majority of Washington State’s 39 counties have moved to Phase 2 of his Safe Start plan to reopen retail across the state following the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
For the first time since late March, Phase 2 allowed limited in-store shopping as long as customers do not occupy more than 30% of a store’s square footage, not including employees. On June 8, stores in Phase 2 will be required to post signs at the entrance encouraging shoppers to wear facial coverings but it will not be a requirement to enter the store in most cases.
Inslee said King County, where stores are limited to curbside sales, has applied for a relaxed Phase 1.5 that would allow customers inside stores if they do not exceed 15% of the store’s square footage. He did not comment on when a decision regarding King County would be made.
Inslee added that the state has received applications from six counties for stores to advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and another six have applied to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of retail recovery.
The pending applications to move to Phase 2 are from Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.
Pending applications to move to Phase 3 are from Columbia, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahkiakum counties.
When Inslee ended his Stay Home Stay Healthy orders last Sunday to stop the spread of the virus, he said factors such as decreased infection rates, acceptance of social distancing and the state’s improved infection testing capability had made it possible to allow counties to apply for permission to safely reopen retail stores.
Washington Retail has developed a Retail Re-opening Resources page with specific guidance to support protection of employees and customers.