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Easing of COVID-19 restrictions in King County approved

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KTVZ file

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state’s most populous county has been approved to move into Phase 2 of reopening from Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus restrictions.

King County, which has about 2.2 million residents, will be allowed to relax rules for businesses like restaurants, barbers and retail operations.

Health authorities announced Friday morning that King County was OK’d for Phase 2, while Island Lewis and Mason counties will be allowed to transition to Phase 3.

Inslee’s stay-home order began March 23 and is now being relaxed — gradually — across the state.

As of Friday three of Washington’s 39 counties are in Phase 1, two counties are in a modified version of Phase 1, 19 counties are in Phase 2 and 15 counties are in Phase 3.

The second phase allows restaurants and taverns to reopen at half capacity with limited table sizes, hair and nail salons and barbershops to resume business, and retail stores to reopen for in-store purchases at 30% capacity. It also allows additional outdoor recreation and gatherings with no more than five people outside of a single household.

Counties are allowed to progress to the next phase if they have declining infection levels, adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, space in hospitals, ample testing capacity and a contact tracing system to notify close contacts of infected people.

Applications to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 for two eastern Washington counties - Benton and Franklin - are on pause as that area sees a spike in COVID-19 cases.

More than 27,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Washington state and at least 1,245 have died.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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The Associated Press


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