On June 5th, the Washington State Department of Health approved King County to start reopening business activity. Governor Inslee referred to the reopening plan as “phase 1.5” of King County’s gradual plan to fully reopen. The King County announcement states:
“With new state health officials’ approval today, restaurants and retailers will be allowed to serve customers in their establishments, in addition to other modified openings for a wide range of businesses and activities. Public Health – Seattle & King County will monitor transmission trends, medical capacity and other key indicators to help inform further reopening decisions.”
Restaurants are allowed to begin table service at 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outside. All tables and chairs must be separated by at least six feet. Additionally, restaurants must provide hand sanitizer, use single-use menus and require all employees to wear face masks.
It will be interesting to see the reaction from restauranteurs and chefs as well as the public. Many consumers may not yet feel safe dining at restaurants and at only 25% capacity it may not make sense financially for restauranteurs to re-open for indoor dining.
Barber Shops and Salons
Quarantine hair has become the norm. Some of us have even started to take pride in our unwieldy ‘dos, but get ready to have your first good hair day in a long time. Barber shops and salons are now permitted to reopen, but must limit capacity to 25%.
Non-essential retail permitted to open to the public, but must limit capacity to 15% and limit customer visits to 30 minutes.
In late March, Governor Inslee declared that real estate is an essential business. This allowed real estate brokers to show properties to buyers and to list properties for sellers, with certain limitations. The original rule shutdown all brick and mortar real estate offices, limited the number of people at permitted real estate activities (including showings, appraisals, inspections and final walk-throughs) to two and limited residential construction activity.
Phase 1.5 allows for the following:
• Real estate firms may open their brick and mortar offices in a limited fashion, subject to restrictions;
• Three people (as opposed to two people) are allowed on site for permitted in-person real estate activities; and
• All construction can resume.
Washington State continues to evaluate key measures of progress, including hospitalization trends, testing resources and infection rate. Phase 2 will allow for expanded outdoor recreation. The State’s guidelines for Phase 2 explains many of the details.