• So, Skagit is getting ready for Phase 2. What does that mean for me?

    June 02, 2020

    Skagit County has applied to move to Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start—Reopening Washington plan. We’re confident that we can move forward safely, and that we have made great strides in the fight against COVID-19. However, it doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods yet.

    First, we're still in Phase 1 until our application is approved and Phase 2 is in no way a total lifting of restrictions. Most of the guidances issued by Dr. Leibrand are still in effect including:

    • Everyone who is medically able to should wear masks in public.
    • Large scale summer events should still be cancelled. Public Health will continue to evaluate as summer progresses.
    • Physical distancing should still be used.
    • People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups.
    • Continue to telecommute, if possible.

    Phase 2 does allow for some additional businesses and services to open, as well as some small, infrequent gatherings to happen. You can read about everything that is open under Phase 2 in the Safe Start plan here, but some examples include:

    • In person retailers who are able to use physical distancing.
    • Personal services, such as hairstylists and beauticians, who are able to use physical distancing and protective measures.
    • Manufacturing businesses and office based businesses, using physical distancing and telework when possible.
    • Small gatherings of five or fewer people from outside one’s immediate household, once per week (i.e., you shouldn’t see more than five people from outside your immediate household each week).

    Finally, Governor Inslee also changed guidance recently to allow for outdoor religious gathers of up to one hundred people (not counting support staff) and, in Phase 2, religious gatherings indoors with fifty percent capacity or no more than 50 people. You are legally able to participate in these activities, but Public Health has concerns about the health risks involved in any large group gatherings. As we learned from the Skagit Chorale Outbreak study, COVID-19 is highly contagious and spreads quickly through large groups, so “remote” or “web-based” events or services are safer. If you are going to gather with this many people, it is vital that you practice good physical distancing and that everyone wear a mask. Further, high risk people should continue to stay home.

    Staying home is the safest thing you can do right now, but that’s not practical for everyone.  As Phase 2 opens up, we will all understandably want to get out. Please, think through your personal risk factors, and use all recommended practices to limit the spread as you participate in Phase 2 activities.