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King County Approved to Advance to Phase 2

Click here to for King County’s public health dashboard, including Phase 2 permitted activities and limitations. This dashboard will continually update with King County’s status in the Safe Start reopening process.

As Pierce County has previously entered Phase 2, Auburn is now entirely in Phase 2.

King County Executive Update

Following approval by state Secretary of Health John Wiesman, King County has officially entered Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start recovery plan to allow limited business re-opening. Phase 2 allows for twice the capacity in retail, restaurants, and other businesses previously allowed in King County’s modified Phase 1 and goes into effect immediately.

“Moving to Phase 2 is another step toward economic recovery for our region, but it must go hand-in-hand with even more careful adherence to precautions from our public health experts,” said Executive Constantine. “Wearing face coverings, washing hands, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary contact can help make ours a one-way trip back to prosperity, and prevent the need to go back to stay-at-home orders.”
While there are no additional categories of businesses included in moving from modified Phase 1 to Phase 2, the operating capacity has doubled for those able to reopen. For example, restaurants can now operate with 50% of indoor capacity, and retail with 30% capacity. Businesses with questions on how to safely reopen under the state’s guidance are encouraged to call Public Health’s Business Compliance Line at 206-296-1608.

“We evaluated a number of factors to apply to move to phase two of reopening. Our healthcare system, perhaps the single most important factor, is currently well-prepared to care for COVID-19 cases as well as the other health needs of our community,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Public Health officials recommend that people keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible. Outdoors exposures are less risky than indoors, and improving indoor ventilation is recommended. In addition, people need to wear face coverings in public, wash hands frequently, and get tested at the first sign of symptoms.

“Our cases have declined significantly since the peak of the outbreak in late March, and are now hovering around our target goal,” said Duchin. “Over the past seven days, however, we have seen an uptick in the number of cases compared to the previous week. With re-opening, we anticipated more cases in the community. That is why it is now more important than ever keep 6 feet apart from one another whenever possible and minimize unnecessary activity, especially people at increased risk for COVID-19.”

“As we move into phase 2 and for the foreseeable future, our risk will be increasing, not decreasing,” said Duchin. “COVID-19 has not gone away and we must take the ongoing risk very seriously. If we are going to be successful continuing to reopen, it’s essential that we do everything we can to prevent COVID-19 spread as we have more contact in social, recreational and work-related settings.”

Phase 2 activities permitted by the state include the following:

Card Rooms

Activities allowed: All card rooms or similar activities.

Limitations: All card rooms are subject to Phase 2 guidance which generally restricts the card room designated area to the lesser of 25% capacity or 50 individuals. The restaurants or taverns area of the facility is required to follow the Phase 2 guidance, which restricts capacity to 50% and prohibits bar service. Games are also limited to 25% occupancy per table. Limitations on capacity does not include staff.


Activities allowed: All construction, including new work and where social distancing may not be maintained.

Limitations: All construction activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance.

Domestic Services

Activities allowed: Any worker (hourly, salaried, independent contractor, full-time, part-time, or temporary) who is paid by one or more employer and provides domestic services to an individual or household in/about a private home as a nanny, house cleaner, cook, private chef, or household manager.

Limitations: All domestic services are subject to Phase 2 guidance.

Drive-in theaters

Activities allowed: All drive-in theaters.

Limitations: All drive-in theaters are subject to Phase 2 guidance.


Activities allowed: Staffed indoor fitness studios and facilities, including but not limited to gymnastics, weight and resistance training, martial arts, yoga, and similar instructor-led fitness services, as well as staffed indoor tennis facilities.

Limitations: All fitness activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance which generally limits to groups of five participants or less.

Higher Education

Activities allowed: All non-lecture based higher education and workforce training, including where social distancing may not be maintained.

Limitations: All higher education activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance.

In-store retail

Limitations: All retail activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance which restricts customer occupancy to 30% of a building’s occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code.

Library services

Activities allowed: All public libraries, public library systems, institutional and governmental libraries, and libraries at institutions of higher education.

Limitations: All library activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance which limits services to mail or curbside pick-up and libraries remain otherwise closed to the public.

Manufacturing operations

Limitations: All manufacturing activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance.

Outdoor recreation

Activities allowed: Staffed outdoor tennis facilities; guided ATV, paddle sports, and horseback riding; go-cart tracks, ORV/motocross facilities, and participant only motorsports; gondolas; zoos and aquariums; guided fishing, and all other similar activities.

Limitations: All outdoor recreation activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance and are generally limited to groups of five participants or less, in some instances up to 12 individuals or three households are permitted.

Personal services

Activities allowed: All personal services including Cosmetologists, Hairstylists, Barbers, Estheticians, Master Estheticians, Manicurists, Nail Salon Workers, Electrologists, Permanent Makeup Artists, Tattoo Artists, Cosmetology Schools and Esthetics Schools.

Limitations: All personal services are subject to Phase 2 guidance which restricts customer occupancy to 50% with the exception of one to one services in an enclosed room.

Pet grooming

Activities allowed: All pet grooming services including any location provided by an individual, or at a retail, veterinary, or other facility.

Limitations: All pet grooming services are subject to Phase 2 guidance which restricts client occupancy to 50%.

Professional photography

Limitations: All professional photography services are subject to Phase 2 guidance which restricts services to appointment only and for one client (and family member, if client is a minor) at any given time. Group sessions are not allowed unless the group consists of immediate family only.

Professional services

Activities allowed: Accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base.

Limitations: All professional services are subject to Phase 2 guidance which restricts guest occupancy to 50% of a building’s occupancy with the exception of one to one service in a fully enclosed room.

Real estate (residential and commercial)

Activities allowed: All real estate brokers, firms, independent contractors and industry partners.

Limitations: All real estate activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance which generally restricts out of office activities to appointment only and with no more than three people; office activities require reservations for in-person customer services and guest occupancy is limited to 50% of a building’s occupancy.

Religious and faith organizations

Activities allowed: All religious and faith-based organizations may operate services including worship services; religious study classes; religious ceremonies; religious holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals.

Limitations: All religious and faith based activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance which generally restricts indoor services to the lesser of 25% capacity or 50 individuals and in-home services/counseling is restricted to no more than five individuals. Outdoor services are permitted for up to 100 individuals. Limitations on capacity does not include an organization’s staff, but does include volunteers.

Restaurants and taverns

Limitations: All restaurant and tavern operations are subject to Phase 2 guidance which prohibits any bar seating and restricts indoor customer occupancy to 50% of a building’s occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code. Outdoor dining is allowed at 50% of capacity and does not count toward the building occupancy limit; additional outdoor seating will be allowed provided it follows Public Health – Seattle & King County’s best practices and a restaurant secures any municipal permit that may be required.

Social and recreational gatherings

Limitations: Individuals may gather with five or fewer people from outside their household per week.

Sporting activities

Activities allowed: Golf; professional sporting activities indoor and outdoor; outdoor youth team sports and outdoor adult recreational team sports, excluding school-connected or administered team sports and junior hockey.

Limitations: All sporting activities are subject to Phase 2 guidance (golf and other sporting activities). Non-professional sporting activities are generally limited to groups of five participants or less; for team sports that can mean limiting to groups of five in separate parts of the field if separated by a buffer zone. Professional sporting activities may generally operate, including up to 50 people for back office operations, for full team practices and spectator-less games and competitions.

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Graphic originally from Pierce County Government



Washington State Department of Health Update

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OLYMPIA — Today Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved King County to move to Phase 2 and Island, Lewis, and

Mason counties to move to Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan.

A total of three counties are in Phase 1, two counties are in a modified version of Phase 1, 19 counties are in Phase 2 and 15 counties are in Phase 3.

Cowlitz, Kittitas, and Thurston counties have applied to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3. Benton and Franklin counties have applied to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and their applications are currently on pause. The department is working with local officials to discuss next steps.

Businesses approved to move into a new phase must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen.

On May 29, Governor Jay Inslee, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, established a data-driven approach to reopen Washington and modify social and recreational activities while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county, allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically.

This approach reduces the risk of COVID-19 to Washington’s most vulnerable populations and preserves capacity in our health care system, while safely opening up businesses and resuming gatherings, travel, shopping and recreation. The plan allows counties and the secretary of health to holistically review COVID-19 activity and the ability for the county to respond when determining if a county is ready to move into a new phase.

To apply to move to the next phase, counties must submit an application to the Washington State Department of Health. The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health and the county executive or county commission.

Each county must demonstrate they have adequate local hospital bed capacity as well as adequate PPE supplies to keep health care workers safe. The metric goals for moving between phases are intended to be applied as targets, not hardline measures. Where one target is not fully achieved, actions taken with a different target may offset a county’s overall risk. Some of the metrics the secretary of health will evaluate in addition to other information provided by counties include:

  • COVID-19 activity: The ideal target for new cases will be 25 or fewer per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. Hospitalizations for COVID should be flat or decreasing.
  • Healthcare system readiness: The available hospital beds in a given jurisdiction would preferably be at less than 80% occupancy.
  • Testing: Counties should show they have adequate testing capacity, 50 times as many people per day as they have confirmed new cases per day – which equates to positive test results under 2%. They also need to show rapid turnaround time for test results, ensuring that we can work effectively to contain the virus.
  • Case and contact investigations: The goal is to contact 90 percent of cases by phone or in person within 24 hours of receipt of a positive lab test result. There is also a goal of reaching all that person’s contacts within 48 hours of a positive test result. Additionally, there are goals to make contact with each case and contact during their home isolation or quarantine to help ensure their success.
  • Protecting high-risk populations: The ideal number of outbreaks reported by week – defined as two or more non-household cases where transmission occurred at work, in congregate living, or in an institutional setting – is zero for counties under 75,000, and no higher than three for our largest counties.
  • Additional information is available in the governor’s plan.

Requests to move into the next phase are reviewed by the secretary of health, who can approve the plan as submitted, approve with modifications or deny the application. If circumstances change within the jurisdiction, the secretary of health can modify the current phase or move the county back into an earlier phase. A county can also identify when they need to return to an earlier phase or eliminate approved activities.

Learn more about reopening and the statewide response to COVID-19 at coronavirus.wa.gov.

Individuals can also find COVID-19 information on the Department of Health’s website or call 1-800-525-0127. Individuals can text the word “coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on their phone wherever they are.


The above are a press releases from King County Executive Dow Constantine and the WA State Department of Health. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to verify any information they feel is overly biased or questionable.

Last updated 06/19/20 12:31 PM

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