Whitman County granted, Asotin County seeks early Phase 2 of WA recovery plan

Whitman County has joined several other rural Washington counties that have been given the OK to relax some COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions early as the state move through the reopening process.

Meanwhile, Asotin County health officials are backing an effort for the county to also receive a variance for Phase 2. The Asotin County Board of Health on Thursday voted unanimously to apply for the variance through the state Department of Health in Olympia. A response is expected as early as Wednesday.

Garfield County and seven other counties had been previously been permitted to move into Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan.

In Phase 2, among the things that would be allowed are in-store retail purchases with some restrictions, hair salons, barbers, and restaurants at half capacity and tables of less than five people.

Inslee last week announced that his stay-at-home restrictions would be extended through at least May 31st and said there will be a four-stage phase in for lifting of restrictions. There will be a minimum of three weeks between each phase, but rural counties that meet certain metrics are allowed to apply to speed up the phases.

To apply for a variance, counties must have a population of less than 75,000 and no new cases of COVID-19 in the last three weeks.  Asotin County’s last confirmed case was April 24th.  (Lewiston Tribune, AP)