Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department
Our hard work has paid off, and the Washington State Secretary of Health has accepted our application to move to Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start Plan. Effective immediately, we can move into Phase 2.
So What’s New in Phase 2?
Reopening is a dialing back of restrictions that gives individuals and businesses time to adjust and make sure we can all stay safe.
Phase 2 of reopening means:
- Small social gatherings – inside or outside – are allowed as long as you don’t see more than 5 people in a week, who you don’t live with.
- Outdoor recreation like camping is allowed as long as it involves 5 or fewer people from outside your household. Always check with campgrounds and recreation facilities before you go for any additional rules and restrictions.
- More businesses and services can reopen with restrictions, including remaining manufacturing and construction activity, domestic services such as nannies and house cleaners, retail stores, real estate services, professional services, nail salons, barbers, and pet grooming.
- Restaurants can open at 50% capacity, but without bar seating.
- More information about the safety measures for each business type can be found at the Washington State Department of Health.
Healthy Habits are Still Important
We’ve worked hard to flatten the curve and reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Whatcom County. The healthy habits that got us here will help prevent new outbreaks as we dial back restrictions and move into Phase 2.
Continue to do things like:
- Stay 6 feet away from non-household members while you are outside.
- Cover your face when you are in public, especially indoors.
- Wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer.
- Limit your social interactions with people who don’t live with you. Keep a list of those with whom you’ve been in contact. This reduces the risk of infection and helps our contact investigators more easily trace cases and close contacts.
- Know the risks of gathering with people who do not live in your household.
We will need to wait a minimum of three weeks before we are eligible to apply for Phase 3. There’s a chance we will need to turn the dial back to Phase 1 restrictions if we have an increase in cases. It’s up to all of us to maintain our healthy habits to move on to the next phase.
People have different levels of comfort when it comes to taking risks and COVID-19. Be kind with your friends and family who find that they would prefer to stay home and stay healthy a bit longer.
Every one of us plays a part in keeping our community healthy and making Phase 2 successful. Those who want to do more are encouraged to make and donate masks, or volunteer through the whatcomcovid.com website.
Moving to Phase 2 is cause for celebration, but we must do so safely or we risk reversing all our hard work and progress against the virus.
More information about the Safe Start plan is available online.