Governor Inslee addressed the State live Tuesday evening April 21st to layout his plan for Washington’s COVID-19 recovery, including when the economy may start to reopen.
Out of the gate Inslee warned they will not lift many restrictions under the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” before May 4th, the stay home extension date imposed earlier this month.
The governor did say a health official did tell him it is ‘likely’ the spread of COVID-19 is declining in Washington. He said they would let the public know when the restrictions could be lifted “just as soon as we know.”
No firm dates were offered during the speech. A news release stated, “Depending on health projections for the spread of the virus, some distancing restrictions may be in place for weeks or months to come.”
“In the coming days, we will receive additional health modeling projecting the course of this virus,” Inslee said. “We hope it will give us cause to begin lifting certain restrictions.”
Inslee said the data may allow them to lift restrictions on elective surgeries, as long as PPE is available; allow for more outdoor activities; allow a limited return of construction with safety measures in place.
Inslee described the reopening of Washington as the turning of a dial rather than the flipping of a switch and warned it is contingent on a steady decrease of the spread of COVID-19.
According to the governor’s office, “It will be guided by science and informed by our public health needs, our ability to mitigate impacts, and the response of Washington communities.”
The Governor’s Recovery Plan includes:
1) Widely available testing for individuals who may have contracted COVID-19, tracing for those who have come into close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, and isolation or quarantine for individuals who could transmit the virus.
For the governor’s contact-tracing plan to work, the state needs to be processing between 20,000 and 30,000 tests a day. Due to testing supply issues, the state has not been able to process more than 4,000 tests per day since the crisis began.
2) When parts of Stay Home order are lifted, the state will provide guidelines so businesses can operate safely. After the order is lifted, workplaces will continue to look and operate differently until a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Continued physical distancing, teleworking and other measures will continue to be necessary to keep workers and customers safe.
3) Recovery assistance – a safe return to public life will require increased social and emotional supports, food and housing security, educational and child care support, internet infrastructure and equitable access to services.”
The governor said he will appoint three leadership groups to advise on each of the three parts of his recovery plan: public health, economic recovery and social supports.