On Friday morning public health officials granted King County's request to move into Phase 2 of the Governor's "Safe Start" plan to send people back to work during a pandemic.
As Matt mentioned yesterday, the dashboard of indicators public health officers consider when making opening decisions showed that the people of the county have been good enough to deserve, among other things, the following:
We can now gather with no more than five people outside of our household, dine indoors at a restaurant working with half its seating capacity, shop inside of a retail outlet at 30% of its occupant capacity, get a hair cut, get a pedicure, get a tasteful COVID-19 tattoo, pick up library books curbside (more on that later), go to Zumba with up to five people, head back to the office for work, build new buildings even when social distancing cannot be maintained, hire a house cleaner, drop the dog off at the groomers at 50% capacity, and cram into a pew with 200 other god-fearing people so long as there's no singing.
It is hard to stress that no singing indoors part enough. Back in March, a church choir in Mount Vernon led to a "super-spreader event" where 52 people were infected during a single service, according a Seattle Times analysis of a Centers for Disease Control report:
The Skagit singers sat 6 to 10 inches apart in different configurations during the 2½-hour rehearsal at a church in Mount Vernon, about 60 miles north of Seattle, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Choir members had no physical contact, although some snacked on cookies and oranges or helped stack chairs, they told investigators. The virus could have spread when exhaled droplets landed on those items.
Important note for Seattle: Yesterday Mayor Jenny Durkan extended closures through June 30 of the following:
• All Seattle Public Library locations, though the city is "evaluating curbside library services"
• Cedar River Watershed Education Center and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
• In-person access to all City departments’ public-facing customer service counters
• Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities, such as community centers, pools, environmental learning centers, and select parking lots serving the City’s largest parks
In general, Seattle & King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin stresses the importance of wearing masks while you're doing any of this stuff. To help promote that behavior, yesterday the county announced that it will dole out "5 million cloth face coverings and 20 million disposable face coverings to residents, workers and businesses." With a population of just over 2.25 million, that would amount to two cloth face masks for every known King County resident. Officials expect to distribute the masks over the course of a month, working mostly through community organizations, government agencies, chambers of commerce, unions, and religious institutions.
Now that Washington's testing capacity has grown, you should also get tested for COVID-19, especially if you've been out protesting against police brutality. Here are the testing locations.
This morning, Governor Jay Inslee, channeling my mother, also made it clear that he brought us into this world and he will not hesitate to take us out. "Know this," he Tweeted. "I will not hesitate to freeze, or even move counties backward if needed."