Restaurants, retail and other businesses in Island County can reopen under variance

Restaurants can serve people at tables inside, stylists can start cutting hair, groomers can groom dogs and retail businesses can open their doors.

All of the businesses, however, have to implement state guidelines for a safe start before they are allowed to reopen.

Island County was one of seven counties that received a variance from the state today that allows the implementation of Phase II of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Phased Approach to Reopening Washington Plan, which is still more than a week away for some parts of the state.

Island County Public Health also reported that over 2,500 people were tested for COVID-19 during a randomized testing effort May 12-18 and all the results have been negative.

The county did have one resident test positive in Skagit County, according the Island County Public Health.

In order to apply for a variance, the county had to show an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period and that there is adequate hospital bed capacity and personal protective equipment. In addition, the county’s health officer, the board of health, the hospital and the county commissioners all had to support the variance request.

The county must continue monitoring the pandemic during Phase II.

Businesses that are allowed to reopen include the remaining manufacturing, additional construction activities, in-home domestic services (such as nannies and housecleaning), retail, real estate, professional services, hair and nail salons and pet grooming.

Restaurants and taverns can open with less than 50 percent capacity and no more than five people at a table. Bar area seating is not allowed.

The guidelines that have to be met before a business can reopen are at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/safe-start.

Camping remain prohibited in Island County as are gatherings of more than five people outside a household per week.

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