Local Business

Which Phase Are We In?

On May 1, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extension of his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31, 2020 and outlined the  phased “Smart Start” approach (pdf) he and public health officials will take for resuming recreational, social and business activities. He issued the new proclamation on May 4, 2020.

Phase 1 builds upon recent decisions made around re-opening some construction activity (allowed as of April 29) and outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, playing golf and some park access. Beginning May 5, Phase 1 also adds drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle, auto/RV/boat/ORV sales, retail open for curb-side pick-up orders, car washes, landscaping, and pet walking. Businesses may only re-open when they are able to fully comply with the industry-specific requirements that will be issued no later than May 15, 2020.

The state will stay in every phase for a minimum of three weeks in order to allow one complete disease incubation period plus an additional week to compile complete data and confirm trends. Every phase will still require social distancing and appropriate health precautions including the use of personal protective equipment in a number of workplaces.

This phased approach may be adjusted as the pandemic evolves. The industries listed in the governor’s order are not an exclusive or exhaustive list of industries. Businesses listed in each phase of the plan will have industry-specific guidance and safety criteria developed to ensure workplace safety and public health are maintained. Those business activities are not authorized to open until the industry-specific guidance and safety criteria are issued. One place employers and workers can find workplace guidance is at the state Department of Labor & Industries.

Inslee also announced that counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply to the state Department of Health with a plan to move to Phase 2.

Governor’s Phase 1 construction restart plan

The governor announced that certain low-risk construction projects can restart as long as they can comply with the COVID-19 Safety Plan. The safety plan was developed as part of a working group that included contractors and workers. The plan includes requirements related to safety training, physical distancing, PPE, sanitation and cleanliness, monitoring employees for symptoms, and logging job site visitors. The governor did not announce restart plans for any other industry or activity.

Below is a list of social distancing recommendations that are currently in place. 


The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home which will be effective through May 31, except for people:

What’s open

  • All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open.

What’s prohibited

  • All gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are prohibited. This applies to both private and public gatherings which include everything from sleepovers for children to weddings. All of these types of events must be postponed for public health and safety.

  • All businesses, except for essential businesses. Businesses that can operate using telework should continue to do so. For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the Governor’s Office has provided guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of “essential critical infrastructure workers.” You can clarify status, or request inclusion on the list. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

  • Governor Inslee has issued several orders, including the Stay Home-Stay Healthy proclamation, prohibiting people from leaving their home or place of residence except to conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or business services. Suspected violations of the governor’s orders regarding essential business functions and social distancing can be reported.

Access to state lands

  • To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, all campsites, roofed accommodations (such as cabins, yurts and vacation houses), group camps and day-use facilities are closed through May 4, 2020. If you have an existing reservation, you will be contacted for a refund. Learn more at the Washington State Parks reservations website

  • All state parks (including day uses areas), state recreational fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recreational lands are closed through May 4, 2020.

  • WDFW has closed recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide until May 5, 2020.

  • Beginning May 5, the governor has authorized partial reopening of certain recreational activities. Day use will be allowed at state parks and public lands for fishing, hunting and other recreational purposes. Playing golf will also be allowed. People are still required to follow physical distance requirements, limit activities to only people within their immediate household, and more. 

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