Gov. Jay Inslee gave us some crumbs of good news in a press conference Tuesday evening. While it was all pretty vague (and with only one ship metaphor!), Inslee has kickstarted the conversation about re-opening the state.
To be clear, nothing will be back to the way it was before by May 4. And most restrictions will not be relaxed.
"We will not be able to lift many restrictions by May 4," Inslee said. "And we'll let you know when we can lift those restrictions just as soon as we know."
It's all due to the "encouraging likely-decline" in the spread of infections of COVID-19 which the governor hopes to see reflected in health modeling that will be reported "in the coming days." As far as which restrictions could be lifted soon? Well, Inslee hinted at allowing elective surgeries to resume because of "the great work in our hospital system." It is unclear if this would mean that dentists can get back to drilling our teeth.
Inslee also said people could start to take part in more outdoor activities, whatever that means. Construction workers could also get back to work soon.
However, until there's a COVID-19 vaccine, the rest of work in Washington will look different (probably a lot like it's looking now) and workplaces will only be able to re-open if they can allow "ample physical distancing."
But all of this recovery hinges upon widely-available testing. Currently, Washington can only process around 4,000 tests a day. Inslee said that needs to look more like "20 to 30,000 tests a day." Inslee covered this lack of testing and lack of supplies in his sternly-worded letter to Vice President Mike Pence earlier today.
"We are going to have to steel ourselves against this virus for quite some time," Inslee warned at Tuesday's press conference. "It is going to affect our daily lives in many ways for months. And we have to be aware that it could come at us in waves. But our performance as a state has been exemplary to date, and we should have confidence in our ability to act decisively."