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With no Seattle protest spike apparent, King County applies for Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions

With no sign so far of a potential spike from weeks of large crowds and protests, Seattle and the state’s largest county are ready to advance to Washington’s next phase of COVID-19 restrictions.

ALERT: Results are in from UW Medicine and out of 3,000 tests fewer than 1% were positive.  To our knowledge and based on volunteered information, there is no evidence so far of people testing positive for COVID-19 from attending protests in Seattle — a message added last week to the city’s new testing registration site

“Early data showed that there were no positive tests from the high number of asymptomatic people who came in for a test after participating in a demonstration,” a statement reads from the city’s Emergency Operations Center to CHS about Seattle officials relaxing their stance on protest concerns. “After Seattle urged all protesters to get tested for the coronavirus at expanded facilities, fewer than 1% are coming back positive,” Crosscut reported Tuesday.

King County has continued to add about 43 new positive cases per day in June — about 70% of its daily totals in May — even as testing has jumped to near 2,000 per day thanks to increased options and new clinics in Seattle. About one person still dies of COVID-19 every day in the county. To date, officials say 574 people have died here during the outbreak. Washington, meanwhile, reports 1,221 deaths across the state through Sunday.

So far, so good. But keep wearing your masks. The positive case trend has helped King County pull the trigger on applying for Phase 2 and the further lifting of restrictions that will add long-awaited components including small group sports practices and open the way for a few friends of family members to get together without feeling like scofflaws.

“The state is expected to process the application this week, and King County could move to Phase 2 as early as Friday,” the announcement reads.

Phase 2 will mean restaurants and bars can operate with “indoor customer occupancy” at 50% and outdoor dining also at 50% of capacity. You still won’t be able to eat or drink at the bar rail. In-store retail is locked at 30% capacity until the next phase. Gyms can reopen — though Capitol Hill will be down at least one as 10th Ave’s Mode of Fitness announced ” the challenges brought by COVID 19″ including “the high number of canceled memberships” have “proved to be insurmountable.”

In-home domestic services will be officially allowed. And “accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base” can start keeping office hours again — if they want to.

The biggest win, really, is the ultimate category of social distancing — you miss your friends and loved ones. “Individuals may gather with five or fewer people from outside their household per week,” the guidelines for Phase 2 read.

Amateur and youth sports activities will still be limited to five participants or less while Phase 2 allows the pros to take the field — without fans. More on Phase 2’s components can be found at the end of this post. UPDATE: As with many of the lifted restrictions, how the sports activities move forward will also be highly gated by local governments and organizations. Seattle Parks, for example, has said it won’t be opening its fields for scheduling until July.

The move comes just under two weeks after the county began an interim Phase 1.5 as health officials opted for a slower advancement on reopening in King County.

CHS reported here on the county’s progress on the key measures being considered by the state in approving new phases of reopening including infection rate, hospitalization trends, and testing resources. Earlier this month, Seattle announced a new free testing initiative that has added two mobile clinics — one to the north off Aurora and one in SoDo — as well as expanded recommendations for who should seek a test that includes anyone feeling even mild symptoms or who has had even a brief exposure to someone who is sick or tested positive.

The county’s most recently updated report on its performance against the measures dated June 8th is below.

PHASE 2 GUIDELINES via kingcounty.gov

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.

Construction

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.

Fitness

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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9 thoughts on “With no Seattle protest spike apparent, King County applies for Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. This is probably happening way too soon, but since the federal government is clearly uninterested in the kind of nationwide measures that would actually contain the pandemic and isn’t going to support us financially while we do those things, we don’t really have a choice anymore. Wash your hands. Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, every time. Stay home if you can, as much as you can. Observe social distancing. Hope for a vaccine.

  2. Hello, I am the owner of Mode of Fitness and gyms are not allowed to reopen in phase 2– only recreational centers or fitness studios. Gyms are phase 3 and therefore, not cleared for reopening at this time. We are sad to leave this neighborhood that we have been a part of for eleven years!

  3. Unless we are in someway blessed, it seems like we will follow our neighbors down in Oregon to a fresh wave. Seattle had very little covid, and if the press is to be believed a single night in a bar can create dozens of cases who don’t know they have it for a week and so up for the numbers again…

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