As expected, Island County is applying to enter Phase 3 of the state’s COVID-19 Safe Start plan recovery plan.
The Island County Board of Health unanimously approved a resolution seeking Phase 3 approval Tuesday afternoon. About 15 minutes later, the Island County Commissioners approved sending the resolution to the state. Officials later announced in a statement that they had officially submitted the plan to the state.
Phase 3 expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75%. Gyms and movie theaters can also reopen at half capacity during this phase. Most public interactions resume in the final phase, with bars, restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues returning to their regular capacity.
The Phase 3 application goes to the state Secretary of Health John Wiesman for consideration. In May, Island County’s application to enter Phase 2 was approved less than a day later.
"Phase 3 application review is expected to involve a lengthier timeline than previously required during Phase 2 application review," Island County officials said in the statement.
Phase 2 allowed limited opening of restaurants, retail stores, some fitness operations, professional services, churches, and other activities and services.
When applying for Phase 2, the county Board of Health chose to not allow camping. In a separate vote Tuesday afternoon, the board unanimously approved allowing overnight camping to resume immediately in Island County. The county does not need state approval to reopen camping.
The move paves the way for popular destinations such as Camano Island State Park, Cama Beach State Park and Deception Pass State Park to welcome back campers.
The county has at least two active coronavirus cases, which are family members who contracted the disease while in the Tri-Cities, Keith Higman, Island County public health director, told the commissioners. They are in quarantine at home, he added.
For a time last week, the county had no known active COVID-19 cases. A testing blitz in late May that reached more than 2,600 people and found no positive cases, the county health department’s three-person strike team has targeted testing at long-term care facilities and shelters. The team samples about 50 people a day, and the team has yet to see a positive case.
A total of three counties are in Phase 1, three counties are in a modified version of Phase 1, 22 counties are in Phase 2 and 11 counties are in Phase 3.
Snohomish County entered Phase 2 on June 5 and could be eligible to apply for Phase 3 as early as June 26.
Meanwhile, Stanwood is offering grants to local businesses, through the Stanwood SOARING Grant Program, funded by the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, allows the city to award grants up to $10,000 to small businesses from a pool of $170,600.
Eligible applicants must be a business in the Stanwood city limits, have 15 or fewer employees, and meet other requirements. See the application at stanwoodwa.org. Priority will be given to restaurants, retail and other service businesses and nonprofits who have a commercial address, according to a city news release.
The Snohomish Health District is offering a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at the Stanwood Library from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Register to get tested by clicking here.