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Grays Harbor County’s phase two variance request approved

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Grays Harbor County’s request to enter Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan has been approved by Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman.

The variance is effective immediately and carries conditions that must be met for the County to maintain continued operation in Phase 2.  The letter approving the variance details the requirements and is posted on Public Health’s website at www.HealthyGH.org/directory/covid19guidance.  The variance changes or modifies many of the conditions for businesses, recreation, gatherings, and travel.

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Businesses must ensure that they have appropriate social distancing measures and health standards in place before opening.  Industry-specific guidance, as well as an online form for individuals wishing to report businesses not in compliance with the Phase 2 guidance, is available at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/safe-start.

Businesses/employers that are able to open under the Phase 2 variance that was approved include:

  • Remaining manufacturing
  • Additional construction phases
  • In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)
  • Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)
  • Real estate
  • Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Hair and nail salons/barbers
  • Pet grooming
  • Restaurants/taverns <50% capacity and table size no larger than 5 (no bar-area seating)

Gatherings and recreational activities also change as part of Phase 2.  People may participate in certain activities involving 5 or fewer people outside of their household.  Gatherings are specifically limited to one per week.  To avoid compliance problems, people are encouraged to visit the Governor’s website to review requirements before participating in gatherings or recreational activities.

To continue to protect yourself from the COVID-19 disease, people in high-risk populations are strongly encouraged to limit their participation in Phase 2 activities and business services.  High-risk populations include persons 65 years of age and older or those who have an underlying medical or immune system problems.  Nursing homes and other long term care settings remain under certain restrictions; please contact them before attempting to visit family members.

Dr. John Bausher, the County’s Public Health Officer is pleased with the decision but urges caution.  “We’ve been fortunate here.  We’ve had very few cases of COVID-19 and that allows us to open things up a bit sooner,” he said.  “But we need to remember that COVID-19 is still out there and most of us are not immune.  I urge people to continue to use physical distancing and good hygiene so we don’t see an increase in disease.”   Continued use of cloth face coverings when away from home is recommended.

Grays Harbor County Public Health will continue to operate a COVID-19 call center that will assist people with testing referrals. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish. Call (360) 964-1850. The call center is available Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4pm. Please note that the call center will be closed on Monday, May 25 for the Memorial Day holiday.  Testing resources and locations can be found on the Grays Harbor Public Health website at www.HealthyGH.org/directory/covid19.

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