EPHRATA - Grant County commissioners and the Grant County Board of Health have approved seeking a variance to move to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
The state on Thursday listed Grant County as eligible to apply to move to Phase 2. With both county boards approving resolutions on Friday at the recommendation of Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny, the health district plans to submit the application on Friday. It will be reviewed by the state Secretary of Health over the weekend. Turnaround time for a response from the state is typically 24 to 48 hours.
The second phase of the state’s reopening plan allows camping, and new construction, as well as in-store retail purchases, with restrictions. Barber shops and salons could also reopen at that time, and restaurants could reopen at half capacity and table sizes limited to five. The third phase would expand group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and would allow restaurants to increase capacity to 75 percent. Gyms and movie theaters could reopen at half capacity, but nightclubs and entertainment venues will still remain closed during this phase.
Grant County’s rate of confirmed cases peaked in mid-April and has gradually declined, except for a spike in cases in early May due to a COVID-19 cluster in H2A housing. In the past two weeks, a total of 450 COVID-19 tests resulted in nine positive cases.
Dr. Brzezny also said Friday if the county is approved to move to Phase 2, a directive will be issued to require face coverings in public, including in work places, grocery stores and other settings where social distancing is difficult.
Health District Administrator Theresa Adkinson said they are seeing a decrease in the number of people wearing face coverings. With more businesses expected to open under Phase 2, Adkinson said it will be critical for residents to follow the face-coverings directive.
Dr. Brzezny said the mandate for face coverings is similar to other counties in the state that have already moved to Phase 2. The directive is likely to come next week if the county is approved for Phase 2.