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Washington’s coronavirus stay-at-home order will extend past the May 4 expiration date “based on data and science,” Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday, 100 days after the state’s first confirmed case.
While thousands of businesses will remain closed, Inslee said he will outline how the state plans to reopen the economy once restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 are lifted.
“And we will have more details Friday about the phased-in approach about how we will open our economy in a safe way,” said Inslee, who has stated an extension was likely.
Inslee also announced he was relaxing restrictions on elective surgeries, issuing guidelines on which could proceed, and private construction projects.
The decision comes the same week that Inslee partially lifted restrictions on outdoor recreation and some construction projects. Residents will be allowed to play golf, go fishing and hunting, and use state parks and public lands beginning May 5. Public gatherings, team sports and camping are among the activities still banned.
During the Wednesday press conference, Inslee shared several graphics he said the state “will use to guide how and when we reopen parts of our economy.”
“As each decision we make informs choices that impact the health and safety of Washingtonians, we want to show that there are multiple indicators we rely on for how we can remain healthy and open our businesses,” Inslee said.
The graphics cover five areas important to the decision-making process: the disease’s activity; the risk to vulnerable populations; the availability of testing; the readiness of health care systems; and the ability to trace and isolate those with COVID-19. The dashboard data will be updated weekly.
“We do not want to go through this pain again,” Inslee said, according to Q13 FOX.
Meanwhile, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Montana allowed some businesses to reopen Monday under new health guidelines, following in the steps of Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska, which began loosening economic restrictions last week.
Washington has 14,070 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 801 deaths as of Tuesday, according to state health department data.