Officials lay out timeline for moving to 'Phase 2'

Board of Health meeting set for May 14

Posted 5/8/20

It could be May 25 before Jefferson County sends an application to the state health department to reopen some businesses ahead of the state’s schedule. 

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Officials lay out timeline for moving to 'Phase 2'

Board of Health meeting set for May 14

Posted

It could be May 25 before Jefferson County sends an application to the state health department to reopen some businesses ahead of the state’s schedule. 

At a special meeting of the Board of Health May 7, the Board of County Commissioners and the Port Townsend City Council elected officials mapped out a plan to decide how they would tackle reopening sections of the county’s economy. 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced May 1 that 10 counties, including Jefferson County, with populations fewer than 75,000 and no new coronavirus cases in the past three weeks could move to his “Phase 2” of reopening businesses and social gatherings of a certain size. 

The entire state moved into Phase 1 of the governor’s reopening plan, which included opening construction, car washes, automobile sales, fishing, hunting, hiking, and drive-in spiritual services.

Phase 2 allows outdoor recreation such as camping and going to beaches with fewer than five people, social gatherings of no more than five people, and limited non-essential travel within proximity of one’s home. It also allows certain businesses to reopen, including manufacturing, new construction, domestic services, retail, real estate, professional services, hair and nail salons, and restaurants at less than 50% of normal capacity and with tables that seat five people or less.

To apply for some or all of these restrictions to lift, Public Health Officer Tom Locke must first make a recommendation to the Board of Health. 

The board must discuss and vote on the recommendation, which will then go to the county commissioners for final approval. The county must also submit a letter from the hospital assuring the state the hospital has adequate bed space for a surge of COVID-19 patients, and adequate personal protective equipment for health care employees. 

County officials outlined a timeline for making this decision at the meeting May 7. 

On May 12, Tom Locke will release his recommendation based on activities he thinks can safely open in the county. 

“As I looked over this list, the lens I look through is a traditional medical approach and that is measuring benefit against risk,” Locke said. 

He will weigh which activities have the lowest risk to public health and the highest benefit to the economy. 

On May 14, the Board of Health will have a special meeting to process Locke’s recommendation and hear from the public on the issue. 

On May 18 or 19—the date is still to be determined—there will be a joint meeting of county, city, PUD and port officials, as well as members of the business community and organizations such as the Fort Worden PDA, the Economic Development Council, the Chamber of Commerce and others to discuss Locke’s recommendation. 

The Board of Health hopes to take action on a recommendation at a meeting on May 21. The county commissioners will either approve or deny this recommendation at their regular meeting on May 25. 

County and city officials hope to have a transparent process and offer opportunities for public input. 

“We might be just the right community to show that we can do this well,” said Commissioner Kate Dean. “Part of this probably is saying, ‘We’re willing to offer more freedoms but with that comes more responsibility and restrictions.’”

Click here to watch the May 7 meeting. 

Comments

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Austin Kerr

I am grateful for their thoughtfulness about our safety, but wonder if meeting could occur sooner. With this schedule Governor Inslee may open us up to another stage almost as soon.

Friday, May 8
Nat Hale

It doesn't seem like it matters much what county officials say. 'Just went downtown to drop off some groceries for an elderly resident there; the streets are full of cars, and sidewalks filled with people walking around with no masks on. Plenty of the no-maskers seem to be tourists/lookieloos, wandering and windowshopping. It sure is sad to observe people in this nation/state/city exhibiting so little care for one another.

Friday, May 8
HarveyW

Nat- If you are not familiar, ages ago Jackson Browne spoke to what you observe. Austin, perhaps it is on purpose and with some wisdom that this county is taking its time. Some just are not able to see past themselves for a greater objective. As the human tribe we will always be influenced by the actions of Everyman. I hope some song and poetry does not anger anyone.

Partial lyrics. Make of it what you will.

Seems like I've always been

Looking for some other place

To get it together

Where with a few of my friends

I could give up the race

And maybe find something better

But all my fine dreams

Well thought out schemes

To gain the motherland

Have all eventually come down

To waiting for Everyman

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one

Who can give them the answers

And lead them back to that place

In the warmth of the sun

Where sweet childhood still dances

Who'll come along

And hold out that strong

That gentle father's hand

Long ago I heard someone say

Something 'bout Everyman

I'm not trying to tell you

That I've seen the plan

Turn and walk away if you think I am

But don't think too badly

Of one who's left holding sand

He's just another dreamer

Dreaming 'bout Everyman

Saturday, May 9