Grays Harbor and then Pacific County’s requests to enter Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan were approved over the weekend by Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman.

Effective immediately, Friday for Grays Harbor, Saturday for Pacific County, the new phase carries conditions that must continue to be met in order to stay at Phase 2. In the letter to the Grays Harbor Health Department, Dr. Weisman wrote, “I may revoke this variance if circumstances change within your jurisdiction, such as a significant community transmission, no or minimal access to COVID-19 testing, inadequate surge capacity in the hospital, inadequate PPE supplies, inadequate case and contact investigations, inadequate isolation or quarantine facilities, or other conditions warranting significant concern. My intent would be to discuss my concerns with you prior to taking such action. However, if I find urgent concerns, I reserve the right to immediately revoke the variance. The Governor also retains the right to re-impose restrictions upon your jurisdiction under his authority.”

Under the new phase, Businesses and employers that are able to open 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 ** AT LESS THAN 50% capacity and table size no larger than 5 AND (no bar-area seating) is allowed yet

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement last week after the Washington State Department of Health announced additional counties are eligible to move to Phase 2 under the Safe Start plan.

“We are making good progress as we continue to open Washington in segments. Currently, one-third of our state is now eligible to move into Phase 2. We are hard at work to determine next steps as we move closer to the May 31 expiration of my current order. As I have repeatedly said before, these are decisions that are driven by public health data and science, not the calendar.

“To be clear: this does not mean that we will be able to open every county in the state on June 1. Counties that continue to have large numbers of infections are not in a position to open up stores, restaurants and services safely. 

Gatherings and recreational activities change as well, people may participate in certain activities involving 5 or fewer people outside of their household, but limited to once per week. Some folks hopped onto that opportunity over the Memorial Day weekend and packed the State Route 115 and West Chance A La Mer NW beach approaches in Ocean Shores.

Shilo Inn on Saturday Afternoon
Ocean Shores beach near Best Western and Shilo approaches Saturday afternoon.
Brief animation of the drive Saturday afternoon.
Ocean City approach Saturday afternoon.
Some traffic on State Route 109 Sunday.

The softer beaches of Pacific County were busy on Sunday, but both beaches settled into smaller waves of vehicles under Monday’s drizzle.

Panorama of Monday afternoon in Ocean Shores
Ocean Shores beach Monday, just after Noon

Dr. Weisman also noted that High-risk populations and long term care facilities should remain under certain restrictions; and you should contact them before attempting to visit family members.

As of Saturday Afternoon, Grays Harbor’s total is 16 confirmed cases, Pacific County has 9 and 1 out-of-state death attributed to the county. Statewide the Department of Health reports 20,065 confirmed cases and 1,070 deaths attributed to the virus as of 3:15 PM Saturday. Find updates to those numbers as they are posted at cornavirus.wa.gov

Grays Harbor continues to operate a call center for covid-related questions and testing referals at (360) 964-1850, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4pm.