Inslee Announces New Safe Start Guidelines; Spokane Eligible To Apply

May 18, 2020

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says his office is finishing guidelines for more populous counties to allow more businesses to open.
Credit TVW

Spokane County is now eligible to move to phase two of Washington’s Safe Start protocol. The announcement came Tuesday from Governor Jay Inslee.

He says counties in Washington may apply if they have fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span.

“This, obviously, is happily going to allow more economic opportunity for states that can qualify, while still really providing the protections we need for the health of our citizens," Inslee said.

This is a message that local leaders such as Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward have been waiting for weeks to hear.

“We are very, very hopeful that after we submit our proposal for a second time to go into phase two that it will be accepted very quickly and that our businesses, who have been waiting so long to open, and our workers who have been waiting so long to get back to work will be doing that by Memorial Day weekend," Woodward said.

Spokane Regional Health District Administrator Amelia Clark says health and elected officials are reviewing the materials they had previously submitted to the state.

“Our team is working quickly, while being very thorough, to prepare a variance request for the Washington State Department of Health," Clark said. "We want to ensure you our documentation addresses the criteria as completely and accurately as possible. I expect to submit our request in the next day or two.”

The governor says Spokane is one of 10 counties that meet those criteria and one of two in eastern Washington. Adams is the other. Ten other less populous counties have already been granted the right to go to phase two of the state’s four-phase reopening plan.