SPOKANE, Wash. — On Friday, Spokane County's application to move to Phase 2 reopening was approved by the state as part of Governor Jay Inslee's "Safe Start" reopening plan.
That means restaurants, salons, camping, pet services, and small gatherings are allowed. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward says she and other county leaders are pushing for more businesses to be able to reopen as well.
There is still some confusion, however, about the specific guidelines during Phase 2 of reopening.
KREM set out to answer some frequently asked questions using information from local leaders, health officials and Washington state.
When could Spokane County reopen in Phase 2?
Now that Spokane County's variance application was approved, the county can move into Phase 2 immediately.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Do you have to wear a mask in public? The short answer: Health officials in Spokane County are strongly encouraging it.
A directive on face coverings from Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz goes into effect on Wednesday.
People should wear face coverings in confined spaces such as grocery stores, pharmacies or restaurants, but it is not necessary to wear a mask outdoors, Lutz said. Health officials are also asking local businesses to post signage encouraging people to wear masks.
The directive is not enforceable. Those who do not wear masks won't face citations or arrests.
What types of gatherings are allowed?
Small group gatherings of five people or less are allowed during Phase 2.
You might be asking: can I gather with different groups of five every day or should we gather with a single group of five in one week?
According to the governor's office, you can't have a new party every day. During Phase 2, the specific guidelines are: “Gather with no more than 5 people outside your household per week,” according to a spokesperson for the governor's office.
Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan calls for dining rooms with less than 50% of capacity, tables with no more than five people and no bar area seating.
Under state guidance, all businesses are strongly encouraged to require their customers to use cloth face coverings when interacting with their staff.
Employers and employees must also maintain a minimum six-foot separation between all other employees and customers. The state says employers must provide personal protective equipment to all employees, and they must be worn by those on the job.
Governor Jay Inslee initially said the state would require businesses to keep a daily log of customers when they reopen, but this is no longer required. Instead, he is asking customers to voluntarily provide their information.
Ice cream trucks, which are considered mobile food vendors, are also allowed to resume operations during Phase 2.
Personal services, including salons
Personal service providers covered in these guidelines include cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, nail salon workers, electrologists, makeup artists, tattoo artists, cosmetology schools and esthetics schools.
Employers must maintain a minimum six-foot separation between employees and clients. When strict physical distancing is not feasible, other prevention measures such as the use of barriers, minimization of service providers or clients in narrow, enclosed areas and waiting rooms, staggered breaks, and work shift starts must be implemented.
Cloth face coverings must be worn by every person not working alone at the location. These businesses are also strongly encouraged to require their customers to use cloth face coverings when interacting with their staff.
Under state guidelines, client occupancy should be kept at 50% or lower, with the exception of one-on-one service in an enclosed room.
Shampoo bowl etiquette at salons includes covering the face of the client with a towel to protect their mouth, nose and eyes.
During Phase 2 of reopening, one-on-one personal training and small group fitness sessions with five people or less will be allowed.
High-risk clients, including people over the age of 65, those with serious underlying medical conditions like chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma and people who are immunocompromised, are not allowed to visit fitness centers during Phase 2.
Social distancing guidelines of at least six feet of separation must be maintained by every person in the facility at all times to the greatest extent possible. Cloth face coverings must be worn by every person not working alone at the location.
The following areas will remain closed during Phase 2: Showers, pools, basketball courts and other group athletic areas, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, and tanning beds.
Limited in-store retail operations
Retail establishments should arrange for contactless pay options, pickup, or delivery of goods whenever possible.
Guest occupancy must be 30% of maximum building occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code. This limit does not include employees in the calculation.
Stores must also place distance markers outside in order to maintain six feet of space between customers waiting to enter. Employees must be assigned to assist and monitor customers waiting to enter.
A minimum of six feet of distance is required between customers and staff. Cloth face coverings must be worn by every person not working alone at the location.
The pet grooming industry covered in state guidelines includes any individual, retail, veterinary location or other facility that provides pet grooming services.
Under state guidelines, client occupancy should be kept at 50% or lower. Cloth face coverings must be worn by every person not working alone at the location.
Clients should advise pet grooming services via call, email or text that they have arrived at the location for the appointment and are waiting for instructions to enter.
In the real estate industry, in-person meetings with customers are prohibited except when necessary for a customer or broker to view a property or sign necessary documents.
Property viewings, inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs are also limited to three people on site, with everyone exercising social distancing at all times.
Open houses are not allowed and people can view properties by appointment only.
Cloth face coverings must be worn by every person not working alone at the location.
Guidelines for other industries
Washington state has made more guidelines for Phase 2 of reopening, including those for professional services, photography and outdoor recreation, available online.