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Officials ease off King County COVID restrictions

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

Communities across King County received good news on Friday, May 5 as state Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman approved a plan drafted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, and King County Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott to immediately allow limited and modified openings for a wide range of businesses, recreation, and personal activities as the county begins transitioning to Phase 2.

According to a King County news release, outdoor dining activities at restaurants are now allowed at 50 percent of capacity so long as tables and chairs maintaining six feet of distance. Additional seating will be allowed provided restaurants follow Public Health and Seattle and King County’s best practices. Restaurants will also need to go through the normal process within their city, or King County if the establishment is located within unincorporated King County.

Indoor dining services may now operate at 25 percent of capacity provided tables and chairs are more than six feet away from each other.

All non-essential retail activities may now operate but an establishment's occupancy cannot exceed 15 percent of normal capacity. Businesses must also provide signage encouraging indoor visits to less than 30 minutes, with face-to-face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

Personal services such a cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tattoo artists, and cosmetology and esthetics schools can also operate but the number of clients served will be limited to no more than 25 percent of capacity or one person if it is a single bed/chair studio.

Accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base can now operate as well, but establishment's occupancy cannot not be higher than 25 percent of capacity.

All personal service businesses must also provide signage encouraging indoor visits to be less than 30 minutes, with face to face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

All construction, including those activities where social distancing may not be maintained is also authorized to resume.

“This important step in our COVID-19 response reflects all the sacrifice and hard work that our community has put into fighting this disease. The success of this guidance depends on business owners and community members embracing public health best practices, and understanding that one size doesn’t fit all,” said Executive Constantine. “By opening our economy carefully and deliberately, we make sure to stay healthy and continue down the path to full recovery.”

For more information, call Public Health's Business Compliance Line at (206) 296-1608.

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