U.S. state of Washington to reopen under phased plan

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Photo taken on Sept. 18, 2019 shows U.S. dollar banknotes in Washington D.C., the United States. U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered interest rates by 25 basis points amid growing risks and uncertainties stemming from trade tensions and a global economic slowdown, following a rate cut in July that was its first in more a decade. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Photo taken on Sept. 18, 2019 shows U.S. dollar banknotes in Washington D.C., the United States. U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered interest rates by 25 basis points amid growing risks and uncertainties stemming from trade tensions and a global economic slowdown, following a rate cut in July that was its first in more a decade. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced on Monday a Safe Start plan that allows its economy to reopen in a phased approach starting Tuesday.

The four-phase plan, according to Inslee, sets a data-driven approach to emerge from the epidemic, which modifies business closures and physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19.

Phase one of reopening begins on Tuesday, which allows for essential businesses and some outdoor recreation, such as hunting, fishing, golf and hiking, to resume.

According to the plan, readiness must be achieved in four areas to proceed from each phase, which include healthcare system readiness, testing capacity and availability, case and contact investigations, and ability to protect high-risk populations.

The state will stay in each phase for a minimum of three weeks.

Small counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not identified COVID-19 cases for the past three weeks can apply to move to phase two of the plan, which allows for social gatherings and more businesses to resume.

“We have not yet won the fight against this virus. We continue to see infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths across the state from COVID-19,” Inslee said, warning that “if infection rates and hospitalizations for COVID-related issues go up, I would not hesitate to scale these efforts back down to protect public health and save lives.” Enditem

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