Columbia County was among 13 others approved to move into the next phase of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan today, according to a release from Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman.
County commissioners approved the application earlier this week. With only one case of the coronavirus reported in March, Columbia County was one of the first counties in the state to move to Phase 2 on May 8.
Inslee’s program to reopen the state requires a county to spend at least three weeks in each phase, which Columbia County achieved a week ago.
Phase 3 allows more businesses to open and relaxes some restrictions on those that have already opened. Restaurants, for example, are allowed to increase capacity from 50% to 75%. Theaters, libraries and museums will also reopen.
Gatherings of up to 50 people are also allowed in Phase 3.
Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties were approved to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2. King County was approved to move into a modified version of Phase 1.
Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahkiakum counties were also approved to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3.
A total of five counties are in Phase 1, one county is in a modified version of Phase 1, 26 counties are in Phase 2 and seven counties are in Phase 3.