On Friday, May 29, 2020, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced via a Zoom event that the county is prepared to move forward with an application to allow limited or modified openings for several business sectors and personal activities.

The county will be applying to the state’s “Safe Start” program, with parameters based on COVID-19 statistics as per Gov. Jay Inslee’s updated, county-by-county based reopening plan for resuming recreational, social and business activities. This plan builds off the 4-phase plan Inslee first announced on May 4.

However, King County has not yet met key criteria to enter Phase 2 of this plan, and case counts are still unstable, so it will move forward and propose a modified approach, including partial re-opening of certain businesses and activities (see list below).

It is unknown when exactly the county may apply or qualify for what’s being called “Phase 1.5,” or how soon businesses in Burien would be allowed to reopen. The application process opens Monday, June 1, and officials say it would take at least a “few days” to apply and get approval from the state.

“A successful safe start depends on everyone doing their part,” Inslee said. “As we gradually reopen, it’s still safest to stay home. When leaving home, physical distancing of at least six feet is required and use of a cloth face covering is strongly recommended. To prevent spread of COVID-19 among counties, stay local.”

If approved to move into a new phase, the county would stay in that phase for a minimum of three weeks. This allows public health experts to monitor the impact of reopening, based on the county’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment dashboard.

“Thanks to the people of King County, whose united efforts have flattened the curve and saved thousands of lives, we are ready to continue safely, carefully reopening our economy,” said Executive Constantine. “Our continued vigilance against the virus can help make this a one-way journey from lock-down back to prosperity, and I’m excited that folks will soon be able to support our local businesses by doing simple things like dining at an outdoor restaurant, getting a haircut, or shopping for a summer outfit.”

Here’s are the businesses and activities the county is seeking to reopen during this phase:

    • Recreation and fitness
      • Only allowed outdoor with 5 — not including the instructor — or fewer people outside of household
    • Gatherings
      • Only allowed outdoor of 5 or fewer people outside the household
    • Additional construction
      • As outlined in Phase 2 guidance
    • Manufacturing operations
      • As outlined in Phase 2 guidance
    • Real estate
      • 25 percent of building occupancy
      • Indoor services limited to 30 minutes
    • In-store Retail
      • 15 percent of building occupancy
      • Indoor services limited to 30 minutes
    • Personal Services
      • 25 percent of building occupancy
    • Professional services
      • 25 percent of building occupancy
      • Indoor services limited to 30 minutes for customers
    • Photography
      • As outlined in Phase 2 guidance
    • Pet grooming
      • 25 percent of building occupancy
    • Restaurants
      • No indoor dining allowed
      • Outdoor dining is permitted but seating at 50 percent of existing outdoor capacity.

Watch the county’s full press conference on Facebook here.

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