Latest “Safe Start” Guidance, New Initiatives: Re-opening Businesses and Activities

“Safe Start” Guidance Posted for Phase 1, some Phase 2 sectors

Phase 1 Guidance issued; covers construction, vehicle sales, drive-in spiritual services, car washes, landscaping, pet walking and curbside retail.

May 5 kicked off Phase 1 of the four-phase “Safe Start” process to safely reopen Washington’s economy. Phase 1 permits some construction activity, outdoor activity, park access, drive-in spiritual service, landscaping, car washes, vehicle sales, pet walking, and retail sales with curbside pickup.

Statewide advancement to Phase 2 may occur on, but not before, June 1 if the risk assessment is satisfactory to public health officials. Phase 2 permits outdoor recreation, manufacturing, construction, domestic services, retail, real estate, professional services, nail salons, barbers, pet grooming, and restaurants (all with strict safety measures). Each phase will last for a minimum of 3 weeks.

Business activity guidance for all Phase 1 activities and several Phase 2 activities (retail, manufacturing, dine-in restaurants, taverns) has been posted online. Review Phase 1 and Phase 2 Business Activity Guidelines on the Governor’s Website.

New Contact Tracing Initiative Announced

A trained team will conduct voluntary interviews to slow the spread of the virus.

The contact tracing program may be of special note to restaurants. Under Phase 2 guidance, restaurants that offer table service must maintain a daily log of customers, their check-in time, and their contact information to facilitate contact tracing. Review the Contact Tracing Announcement on the Governor Inslee’s Medium page.

ESD Commits to Operation 100%

The Employment Security Department (ESD) expands staff to tackle unprecedented claim volume, resolves to review all applications.

ESD has paid out over $2 billion in benefits to more than half a million Washingtonians since the crisis began. This money is feeding families and paying bills for many, but ESD acknowledges that 57,000 applicants are still waiting for their claims to be reviewed.

ESD’s objective is to provide relief to all eligible Washingtonians. The Department has launched Operation 100%, their plan to accelerate processing and quickly distribute benefits to those eligible.

The plan involves rapid hiring of staff, new technology, and triage of phone traffic. ESD’s top priority is to clear the backlog. ESD will also email another 187,000 eligible individuals that have tasks to complete before claims can be processed. 

The objectives of Operation 100% are to substantially reduce the backlog by late May, and to have 100% of the backlog resolved or paid by mid-June. Washington can observe the progress of Operation 100% on ESD’s website.

Business Response Center – Have Questions? Ask Away!

Submit general questions about reopening, health and safety, and relief programs

TVW’s The Impact: Road to Recovery series