OLYMPIA, Wash. — Wednesday morning, Thurston County officially entered phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start Plan.
Under phase 3, up to 50 people can gather, non-essential travel can kick back off and recreational sports can start up.
“Normality is coming back,” said Everett Archambault.
Restaurants can boost capacity from 50% to 75%. Bars in restaurants and taverns can slowly reopen and so can theaters, museums, gyms, public pools and libraries.
“I was so excited I screamed, and I sent one of my kids an email about it,” said Barbara Lohman. “It’s one of the things I’ve missed the most.”
There’s a lot of excitement, but Thurston County Public Health and Social Services reminds people there’s still a risk.
“We are definitely not back to normal. COVID is here, and we really hope that people are going to be adhering to physical distancing, wearing their face coverings and staying safe,” said Schelli Slaughter, Thurston County director of Public Health and Social Services.
Since the pandemic began, Thurston County has had 229 confirmed coronavirus cases and seven deaths.
Over the past month, the county averaged five new cases a day. Officials don’t expect numbers to slow down during phase 3.
“As more things open up, and people begin to go out in the community, and they have more contact with other people, we’re likely to see more cases,” said Slaughter.
Thurston County spent more than a month in phase 2 before moving to phase 3. Slaughter said moving to phase 4 will take longer and likely won’t happen until there’s a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine.
All activities in previous phases are allowed in phase 3 in addition to the following:
- Recreation: Outdoor group recreational sports activities (50 or fewer people), recreational facilities at less than 50% capacity (gyms, public pools, etc.)
- Gatherings: Allow gatherings with no more than 50 people.
- Spiritual or religious services: Indoor capacity of 50% or 400 people (whichever is less). Choirs not allowed. Health requirements for social distancing and facial coverings will remain the same as the guidance for previous phases.
- Travel: Resume non-essential travel
- Business: Restaurants/taverns at less that 75% capacity, table size no larger than 10, bar areas in restaurants/taverns at less than 25% capacity, theaters at less than 50% capacity, customer-facing government services (telework remains strongly encouraged), libraries, museums, all other business activities not yet listed except for nightclubs and events with greater than 50 people.
Click here for more information on what is allowed in phase 3.
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