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June 1: King County Will Apply for Modified Phase One

Governor Jay Inslee recently announced updates to the Safe Start Washington reopening plan, and King County Executive Dow Constantine confirmed that the County will apply for modified Phase One on Monday, June 1, 2020. The updated Safe Start plan establishes a modified Phase One, which allows certain businesses, construction and manufacturing, and outdoor recreation activities to resume under strict public health and safety guidance.

The Mayor believes that Seattle and King County are ready to enter a modified Phase One approach to reopening additional businesses – click here to read Mayor Durkan’s full statement. Even as we apply for a modified Phase One, we all know that we aren’t out of the woods yet. This virus knows no boundaries and resurgence can happen quickly and exponentially if we don’t all do our part. As we begin to reopen our economy, businesses, and cultural institutions, we cannot relax all restrictions simultaneously.

Upon approval by the State Department of Health:

  • King County restaurants will be able to operate with no indoor service, but outdoor service is allowed at 50% seating capacity if they are previously permitted to do so;
  • In-store retail operations can operate at 15% capacity, with customer services limited to 30 minutes; and
  • Personal services can operate at 25% of building occupancy.
  • Other outdoor recreation, businesses, and construction and manufacturing services are permitted as long as they follow State guidance.

Click here to read the full breakdown of modified Phase One guidance.

We know that many of our business owners and residents have questions about what the State’s guidance means for them. The Mayor’s Office and the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) will continue to amplify information from the State as soon as they have it, and make sure materials are accessible and available in-language.

In the meantime, you can visit the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) website for additional reopening guidance.

The City of Seattle also created the Seattle Protects online marketplace to help businesses, nonprofit organizations, and residents purchase face coverings from local manufacturers. Seattle Protects is a new economic development and public health effort by the City to encourage local organizations in search of face coverings to purchase from Seattle-region midsize manufacturers and businesses that have pivoted to creating face coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, OED partnered with Communities Rise and Perkins Coie to launch a new toolkit to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic explore options for their commercial leases with a goal of remaining in their spaces. Building on the eviction moratorium for small businesses and nonprofits signed by Mayor Durkan, the new COVID-19 Lease Amendment Toolkit for small businesses and nonprofits provides a suite of tools – including template lease amendment language – to assist small businesses and nonprofits who are navigating the negotiation of their commercial leases with their landlords.

Click here to read a FAQ on existing guidance that the State has produced for several industries (pdf).