Hey, remember work? That thing you used to have to do in order to eat? The state of Washington's still figuring out when we can all go back to doing that, but they've been steadily releasing guidelines for various businesses to re-open. Those guidelines are sometimes a little weird, sometimes a bit challenging, and sometimes it's like, "Wait, why were they not doing that in the first place?"
Come with me now on a delightful stroll down Phased Business Activity Guideline Lane, where we'll explore the rules the state is putting in place for your favorite corner business to re-open.
Currently, all of Washington is in Phase 1 of the re-opening, which means essential businesses can keep their doors open, along with a small list of other industries. But you can't just fling open your doors and beckon everyone in! First, you must answer Jay Inslee's riddles three.
Funeral homes, for example, can conduct ceremonies — but only close family can attend. Sorry, distant cousins! For the time being, there will be no dramatic gatherings for the showing of a videotaped will at a haunted manor where each attendee had a reason for murdering the deceased.
Also allowed in this phase: Driving tests, but everyone must wear masks, goggles, and gloves in the car. You'll also need to disinfect the inside of your vehicle before bringing it to the DMV, which frankly some of you people should have been doing all along.
Here in Phase 1, car washes can resume operation, and while that seems like it might be the most sanitary place you could possibly spend time, there will be some new rules in place the next time you drive down to Brown Bear. Employees must wear cloth face masks (won't they get soggy???) and customers will be encouraged to make reservations ahead of time. You know how it's totally a normal thing to make a reservation at a car wash? They'll also need to maintain a daily log of customers, presumably so the state can check and see whose passenger-side footwell has the largest accumulation of empty Burger King bags.
Pet walkers can resume walking, but they'll need to wash their hands as frequently as possible. (Again ... why was this not already a thing?) Pet owners should allow pet walkers to enter homes on their own, and walkers should bring their own leashes and bags. When handing off your pet, wear gloves. And be sure to sanitize all water bowls—a recommendation that took me aback for a moment because I thought the implication was that the dog walker might like to take a drink out of them.
Once we hit Phase 2, golf courses can re-open, which is disappointing because we should have been using this time to tear them up and replace them with something useful. Golfers can gather in groups, provided they can find anyone who can tolerate standing near a golfer, but only one person is allowed in a golf cart at a time. The state advises that everyone "be creative" with cup liners, so look for some arts and crafts projects on the courses I guess. And I don't know why this made me laugh but it did: "Players will be educated to avoid touching the flagstick for any reason."
Fitness studios can re-open in Phase 2 as well, but each session with your trainer will need to start with a rundown of measures to avoid physical contact. Trainers can't take any new clients over the age of 65, and you can't drink out of water fountains — they're now only for refilling water bottles you brought from home. Also, no towel service, awww geez!
This is just a small sampling of the new rules facing us as businesses slowly re-open. There are similar guidelines in place for spiritual services, boat sales, tattoo artists, professional photographers, taverns, and more. And the state's putting out new guidelines by the day, so who knows what further surprises await. For now, I'll just be over here waiting to find out when I can re-open my coughing-themed restaurant where the gimmick is that the chef personally clears his throat over every plate.