Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and response around the Seattle region, Capitol Hill, and the Central District. See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959.
- Phase 1 begins: CHS went through the science, measurements, and models behind the extension of Washington’s stay at home order here on Friday. But you’re not (totally) interested in that. You want to know when it will be safe to sit down in a favorite restaurant or get a haircut. Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee provided a little more clarity on the state’s four-phase approach to reopening — welcome to Phase 1:
Safe Start — Phase 1
Phase 1 timing:
Washington state is currently in Phase 1, with construction and other essential activities underway. The additions such as outdoor activities and additional sales and retail activities begin Tuesday, May 5. When the state moves to Phase 2, all components of Phase 1 will continue.
Phase 1 includes:
Phase 1 builds upon recent decisions made around re-opening some activities, including construction activity (allowed as of April 29) and outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, playing golf and some park access, which Inslee announced last week.
Phase 1 also adds (as of May 5):
- Drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle
- Auto/RV/Boat/ORV sales
- Retail open for curb-side pick-up orders only
- Car washes
- Some pet services (not including grooming)
- Essential travel and limited non-essential travel to engage in Phase 1 activities is permitted.
Safe Start Phase 2:
When COVID-19 disease burden is low and decreasing and the four capabilities (health care system readiness; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; and ability to protect high-risk populations) are met, the governor will issue an order for the state to move into Phase 2.
As noted above, each phase will be at least three weeks, data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.
Phase 2 includes:
All components of Phase 1 will carry into the start of Phase 2, which will include outdoor activities in small groups with people from outside one’s household, as well as limited non-essential travel within proximity of one’s home.
Additional modifications to restrictions in Phase 2 affecting business will include:
- Remaining manufacturing and construction phases
- Restaurants/taverns less than 50% capacity/table size no larger than 5 people and no bar area seating
- Hair and nail salons
- Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)
- Real estate
- Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
- In-home/domestic services (i.e., nannies, housecleaning)
- Pet grooming
- Essential travel and limited non-essential travel to engage in Phase 1 and Phase 2 activities is permitted.
Safe Start Phase 3
If COVID-19 disease burden stays low and the four capabilities (health care system readiness; testing capacity and availability; case; and contact investigations and ability to protect high-risk populations) are met, the governor will issue an order for the state to move into Phase 3.
Each phase will be at least three weeks, data and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another.
Phase 3 includes
All components of phases 1 and 2 will carry into the start of Phase 3, which will include resuming non-essential travel and allowing gatherings of no more than 50 people.
Phase 3 also includes resuming some public activity, such as:
- Outdoor group recreational sports activities (50 or fewer people)
- Recreational facilities at less than 50% capacity (gyms, public pools, etc.)
- Professional sports (horse racing, baseball, etc.) without audience participation
- Restaurants and taverns at less than 75% capacity with table size no larger than 10
- Bar areas in restaurants and taverns at less than 25% capacity
- Indoor gyms at less than 50% capacity; theaters at less than 50% capacity
- Customer facing government services (telework remains strongly encouraged where possible)
- All other business activities not yet listed except for nightclubs and events with no more than 50 people.
Safe Start Phase 4
Phase 4 includes:
If COVID-19 disease burden stays low and the four capabilities (healthcare system readiness; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; and ability to protect high-risk populations) are met, the governor will issue an order for the state to move into Phase 4.
All components of phases 1, 2 and 3 will carry into the start of Phase 4 which would be a full return to public interactions (with appropriate physical distancing).
If you’re doing the math, each phase will require at least three weeks for health officials to assess key factors including infection rates, hospital capacity, and testing status before opening the components of the next phase. The Seattle Times reports that state Secretary of Health John Wiesman is looking at a June 1st timing for the possible start of Phase 2 and its loosening of restrictions on barbers, hair salons, and some retail. You’ll also be able to visit restaurants that can afford to operate restricted to 50% or less capacity.
- Don’t forget to enjoy Phase 1, first: In addition to Tuesday’s start of sanctioned enjoyment of drive-in spiritual services, Auto/RV/Boat/ORV sales,curb-side retail, car washes, landscaping, dog walking, and “limited” non-essential travel, you can also begin again to enjoy some aspects of the great outdoors without guilt including golfing and fishing. You’ll still need to provide six feet of space on the trails, thanks.
- Seattle gets in line: To get Seattle lined up with the new phased approach, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the extension of some restrictions and reopening of a few city resources including its public golf courses:
The following closures will be extended through May 31st:
- Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) community centers, playgrounds, athletic fields, sport courts, pools, environmental learning centers, and select parking lots serving the City’s largest parks, except for those centers offering childcare, shower services, and social distancing shelters.
- Seattle Public Library (SPL) locations, except those open 10 am – 6 pm for restroom use only
- Cedar River Watershed Education Center and Rattlesnake Ledge Recreation Area
- In-person access to all City departments’ public-facing customer service counters. Online and telephonic access will continue.
- All permitted City events, as announced on March 13, 2020, with the exception of farmers markets which will continue to be evaluated for permit renewals on a weekly basis
The city’s relaxation of many parking restrictions will also continue. Seattle’s public golf courses Jefferson Park Golf Course, West Seattle Golf Course, Jackson Golf Course, and Interbay Golf Course effective Tuesday, meanwhile, are reopening effective Tuesday with “new operational guidelines and strict physical distancing practices.”
- Eviction moratorium extended: It will buy time if nothing else. Seattle is extending its moratorium on residential, nonprofit, and small business evictions through June 4th. Check out the City of Seattle’s resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 here.
- Latest totals: King County reported 118 new cases Sunday and five new deaths bringing its total to 463 through the crisis. The county also made a big change to its database resulting in the removal of more than 150 positive cases from its total as it is no longer counting results derived from antibody testing in its reporting. “The validity of results based on antibody testing is not known,” Public Health says of the change. In addition to backing out dozens of cases from its total, the restatement has also reduced the number of COVID-19 deaths tallied in the county. For ZIP codes covering Capitol Hill and the Central District, that puts CHS in the strange place of reporting this peculiar piece of good news: the area’s death total has dropped from six to five after the restatement. There is now one less official COVID-19 death in the tally for the Central District’s 98122 neighborhoods.
- A true PPP? Mayor Jenny Durkan has joined the call for more comprehensive relief for the nation’s small businesses. Her OED has identified a raft of problems with the Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan program.
The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) provides technical assistance to help businesses apply for SBA loans and understand the CARES Act. This includes helping businesses navigate the application process and documentation. In working with small business owners, OED has heard about a number of issues with federal small business relief, including:
- Significant confusion among borrowers and lenders about the implementation of PPP, which has created barriers to participation for historically underserved businesses;
- Lack of funding specifically designated toward historically underserved businesses, and a first come, first served structure that favors larger businesses with more access to capital;
- Slow granting process and inability to get funds out the door quickly; and
- Lack of flexibility in forgivable loan requirements that effectively marginalizes small businesses that have already had to lay off their staff.
Durkan and 16 mayors from across the country sent a letter to the Small Business Administration and United States Department of the Treasury “asking the federal government to make critical improvements to its relief programs for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to an announcement from Durkan’s office. You can view the letter here. Rep. Pramila Jayapal is championing a stronger Paycheck Guarantee Act that “would stop mass unemployment (and would apply retroactively to pull people back off unemployment) and keep businesses from going under by guaranteeing paychecks up to a salary cap of $100,000, covering benefits including health care, and providing up to 25 percent for maintenance costs like rent and utilities.”
- Good signs: Saigon Siblings, the company behind the restaurants of longtime Capitol Hill restaurateurs Eric and Sophie Banh, has reopened the location where the business got its start. Hopefully a sign of more openings to come across the Hill, Monsoon Seattle on 19th Ave E is back in motion for takeout and delivery. We’ve added the Monsoon Seattle listing to our CHS To Go Calendar.
- Yard sign art: The city has rolled out a different kind of art display unique to the COVID-19 crisis. The Public Art Comes to Your Front Yard effort includes art commissioned by 12 artists that was used to create 1,000, 18” x 24” yard signs with “messages of hopeful engagement for the community.” The signs are installed in the public right-of-way, private yards, parks, roundabouts, local fire stations, “and beyond.” Though Capitol Hill didn’t make the cut, you can find some of the signs in the Central District. Check out this post for a list of neighborhoods and to learn more about the program.
- 5/4/20: COVID-19 updates: Phase 1 begins, what’s in Phase 2 (and 3 and 4), King County removes antibody testing case counts, COVID-19 yard art
- 5/1/20: Washington extends COVID-19 restrictions through May, readies ‘four phase’ plan for reopening with limits on groups, restaurant capacity, and travel
- 4/30/20: Washington investigating state totals after COVID-19 ‘excess deaths’ report
- 4/30/20: Facing opposition from mayor and chamber advocates, Seattle tax on big businesses for COVID-19 relief and housing moves toward May vote
- Plus: Capitol Hill Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes offering takeout during COVID-19 ‘stay home’ restrictions
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