Kittitas County enters phase two

Mariah Valles, Orientation & Photo Editor

As of this morning, Kittitas County is officially in phase two of Gov. Inslee’s phased reopening plan. Currently, the county has 79 confirmed COVID-19 cases, but according to Kittitas County Public Health Department Health Officer Mark Larson, all are stable or have recovered. 

Under phase two, restaurants and bars can open with less than 50% occupancy, having tables with no more than 5 people. Hair and nail salons will open and so will pet groomers. In-home domestic services such as childcare and house cleaners can also resume.

Beginning May 23, the Kittitas County Public Health department began requiring face masks to be worn when a distance of six feet couldn’t be maintained. Larson said the county must continue to follow face mask directives.

“Our ability to move forward depends on you,” he said. 

Since the board of commissioners declared a state of emergency, local and county elected officials have worked together to develop a plan for the economy’s recovery, according to Kittitas County Board of Commissioner Brett Wachsmith. 

The next step will include the formation of an Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) to support impacted citizens and businesses in the county. The ERC will have three primary goals: Advocating for the resources businesses need to stay open, advocating for businesses to reopen and supporting businesses with the resources to thrive again.

“Kittitas County has led the way in the state by keeping our COVID-19 numbers low, successfully containing a COVID-19 outbreak and developing an exceptional system for contacting patients and their close contacts,” Wachsmith said. 

“I want to thank those of you that I see wearing masks, I thank you for protecting me,” Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) Chief Medical Officer Kevin Martin said. “I wear mine to protect you.” 

Martin said KVH has the appropriate testing capacity for phase two, as well as enough personal protective equipment for both patients and health care workers. 

“Together through continued caution, you’ve got this, we’ve got this,” Martin said.