E. Washington Mayors, Governor Talk By Phone; Governor Holds Firm

May 5, 2020

Mayor Nadine Woodward speaks Monday at a Spokane Covid Response media briefing.
Credit Spokane COVID Response

Several eastern Washington mayors met virtually today [Tuesday] with Governor Jay Inslee. It’s part of their quest to convince him to allow their counties to move more quickly in reopening their local businesses and economies.

Spokane’s Nadine Woodward was one of those attending.

“He indicated to us that the only way he would offer a variance to move from one phase of his plan to another sooner than his three-week period would be if there were no new cases in a county in three weeks," Woodward said.

She says that’s a pretty high bar to clear for a county with a population as large as Spokane. Ten other counties with populations of 75,000 or fewer have been cleared by the state Health Department to apply to move directly to the second of four phases. The health district representing two of those, Ferry and Pend Oreille, along with their neighbor Stevens, submit their variance Tuesday.

Despite not hearing the answer she wanted, Woodward said she’s encouraged the governor is at least entertaining ideas from individual counties about implementing their own plans. She says Spokane elected officials will formalize their own plan and submit it next week.