The Effects of Governor's Phase 2 Plan
May 21, 2020
POMEROY–Garfield County Health District Administrator Martha Lanman, announced to the Garfield County Board of Commissioners at the May 11, 2020 meeting, that the County had been granted approval to move forward to Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start recovery plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The effective date of the variance was May 8, 2020. Lanman credited the move forward to the effective actions by the community to follow the “stay home, stay healthy” regulations put in place by the Governor. She also outlined the continuing safe practices that must be followed to remain in Phase 2, and warned that the variance could be revoked at any time if circumstances change.
Gatherings of up to five people are now allowed once per week. Lanman recommended that people should choose to gather with others known to have been quarantined, and would be considered to be safe, so “choose wisely,” she said. She also has been discussing re-opening procedures and requirements with local business owners to help them be prepared for the “new normal” of doing business with the public. She directed the commissioners to a website, coronavirus.wa.gov, and the “What You Need to Know” tab, where lists of requirements can be found for each of the specific businesses now allowed to re-open. She also has distributed some personal protection supplies to each of them so they will be prepared when they do open.
Guidelines which must be adhered to include reporting of any new outbreak of the virus by the health district within six hours, and monitoring of the community for signs of transmission, and prompt notification to the Public Health Department. Several requirements had to be met by the community in order to get approval for the variance, and if any of those requirements change or are no longer being met, the variance can be revoked by the Health District, or by the Governor’s Office. That would include inadequate testing made available, or inadequate PPE supplies for the hospital. Advancing to Phase 3 will require another application for a variance, and cannot be done before three successful weeks in Phase 2.
Garfield County Prosecutor Matt Newburg, addressed the board of a concern that arose over the previous weekend. He observed a significant increase in traffic coming into the county from areas outside Garfield County, especially from Oregon, the Tri-Cities, and Spokane. Many of these travelers were coming to Garfield County to camp, because camping is not allowed in their own counties under Phase 1.
In Phase 2, camping is now allowed and may include a maximum of five people from outside your immediate household. However, according to Newburg’s understanding, that did not allow travelers from outside the county, and must include sufficient distancing. He will further investigate the phase 2 camping definition, but believes these travelers are committing a gross misdemeanor, and expressed that he would “be happy to prosecute” these individuals. Newburg’s concern is that campers will often come into Pomeroy to buy food, gas, or other supplies, and interact with the local citizens. He suggested non-local travelers should be contacted by fish and game officers to address the issue with them.