As Island County begins the process of reopening post-pandemic, an economic recovery task force comprised of local leaders is being formed.
“Now that the health crisis appears to be leveling, we can begin to tackle the economic crisis and position our islands for recovery,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said in a press release.
Compared to last year, the county saw a 70 percent drop in tourism and 56 percent drop in clothing industry traffic. However, there was a 66 percent increase in grocery store activity, according to the county.
The county is looking to utilize a data analysis program that allows them to target specific areas in need of assistance.
“There is so much data that is offered here that we can continue to track and as we move through the recovery plan we can identify and accurately assess where our needs are for drafting the plan and helping our community,” Planning Director Jessica Carpenter said during a teleconference in April.
The task force is looking at ways to ensure health standards are met during reopening.
“If we can come up with protocols that we can show to the governor that we can begin to safely open certain segments or activities in our communities then I think we have a strong case for him to start to allow us to have that local authority and direction,” Langley Mayor Tim Callison said.
Commissioner Janet St. Clair praised the Coupeville and Camano chambers of commerce for the farmers market guidelines they instituted.
Businesses are going to need to have proper protective equipment and adequate testing in order to operate safely, said Price Johnson.