Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Secretary John Wiesman has approved Lewis County’s COVID-19 variance application to fully implement Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan. Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) Director J.P. Anderson was notified by letter on May 22. The approval is effective immediately.

Wiesman’s letter states, “I have found your application to be complete and your public health, health care, and community resources to be appropriate for the variance consideration.” The approval also includes four conditions that must be followed in order to remain in Phase 2:

  1. An individual business is only allowed to reopen after it can implement the state guidelines for a safe start. The guidelines can be accessed at: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/safe-start.
  2. LCPHSS must promptly notify DOH of any COVID-19 outbreak.
  3. LCPHSS must monitor for signs of community transmission or any other concerning acceleration in the number of cases and promptly notify DOH if discovered.
  4. LCPHSS may not proceed to Phase III of Governor Inslee’s Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan without further authorization to do so from me. In no case will authorization to move to the next phase be given without at least a three (3) week monitoring period.

Wiesman’s letter also states, “Subject to the conditions in this variance, the activities and business services listed in Phase II of Governor Inslee’s Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan are now permitted in Lewis County and exempt from the Stay Home – Stay Health Proclamation’s prohibitions.” The complete letter listing activities and business services approved under Phase 2 guidelines is available online at https://bit.ly/2zlVUxV.

Lewis County Manager Erik Martin greeted the news enthusiastically. “I am very excited that Lewis County has this opportunity to begin the reopening process and I appreciate the State Department of Health’s quick response. I think this speaks to the quality of our application but even more so to the readiness of our community and the work everyone in Lewis County has been doing to prepare for this day.”

People can stay informed by following the Lewis County COVID-19 web page at covid19.lewiscountywa.gov,  @LCPHSS on Twitter, or www.facebook.com/lcphss.

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