Safe Start Washington - Phased Reopening County-by-County

Governor Jay Inslee, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, has established a data-driven approach to reopen Washington and modify physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically. 

This approach reduces the risk of COVID-19 to Washington's most vulnerable populations and preserves capacity in our health care system, while safely opening up businesses and resuming gatherings, travel, shopping and recreation. 

The plan involves assessing COVID-19 activity along with health care system readiness, testing capacity and availability, case and contact investigations, and ability to protect high-risk populations. The plan allows counties and the secretary of Health to holistically review COVID-19 activity and the ability for the county to respond when determining if a county is ready to move into a new phase. 

To read the entire Safe Start Washington - Phased Reopening County-by-County plan click here

COVID-19 Gatherings Frequently Asked Questions

Essential Business Guidance

Many parts of the economy are already allowed to operate safely as essential businesses. For a list of essential businesses click here


Phase 1 Business Activity Guidelines

*Modified Phase 1 Guidance

Phase 2 Business Activity Guidelines

Phase 3 Business Activity Guidelines

Washington's Phased Approach

  Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
High-Risk Populations* Stay home unless engaging in Phase 1 permissible activities. Strongly encouraged, but not required, to stay home unless engaging in Phase 1 or Phase 2 permissible activities. Strongly encouraged, but not required, to stay home unless engaging in Phase 1,2, or 3 permissible activities.  Resume public interactions, with physical distancing.
Recreation Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, boating, hiking) Outdoor recreation involving 5 or fewer people outside your household (camping, beaches, etc.)

-Outdoor group rec. sports activities (50 or fewer people)

-Recreational facilities at <25% capacity (gyms, public pools, etc.)

Resume all recreational activity
Gatherings (non religious) No gatherings Gather with no more than 5 people outside your household per week Allow gatherings with no more than 10 people Allow gatherings with >10 people
Travel Essential travel and limited non-essential travel for Phase 1 permissible activities Essential travel and limited non-essential travel for Phase 1 & 2 permissible activities Resume non-essential travel Continue non-essential travel
Business/Employers (All businesses will be required to follow safety plans written by the state)

-Essential businesses open

-Existing construction that meets agreed upon criteria


-Auto/RV/boat/ORV sales

-Retail (curb-side pick-up orders only)

-Car washes

-Pet walkers

-Remaining manufacturing

-Additional construction phases

-In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)

-Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)

-Real estate

-Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)

-Personal services (hair and nail salons/barbers, tattoo, etc.)

-Pet grooming

-Restaurants/taverns <50% capacity, table size no larger than 5 (no bar-area seating)

-Limited small group fitness

-Drive-in Movie Theaters

-Library (curb-side pick-up)

-Limited indoor fitness and training with 300 square feet of distance/person, up to 25% capacity for large facilities. 




-Movie theaters at <50% capacity

-Customer-facing government services (telework remains strongly encouraged)


-Museums 50% capacity

-Limited indoor fitness and training with 200 square feet of distance/person, up to 25% capcity for large facilities.

-All other business activities not yet listed except for those specified for Phase 4


-Concert venues

-Large sporting events

-Resume unrestricted staffing of worksites, but continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene

-Live entertainment

*High-risk populations are currently defined by CDC as: persons 65 years of age and older; people of all ages with underlying medical conditions (particularly not well controlled), including people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people how are immunocompromised, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and people with liver disease; people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.