Safe Reopening

Updated January 16, 2021

On January 11, the ‘Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery’ went into effect. This means, the state will now follow a regional approach to reopening and recovery. The state has been separated into eight regions based on emergency medical service (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. These regions are:

Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, and Grant counties are in the North Central region, and will be evaluated together. There are 2 phases in this plan, and all regions will start in Phase 1. To move forward to Phase 2, regions must meet all four of these metrics:

  • A decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population (decrease >10%)

  • A decreasing trend in two-week rate of new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population (decrease > 10%)

  • ICU occupancy (includes all COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients) of less than 90%

  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%

To remain in Phase 2, regions must continue to meet 3 of the 4 criteria, or they will be placed back into Phase 1.
All regions will remain in Phase 1 until at least January 25, 2021.
OCPH will post updates on our region’s metrics each Friday, beginning January 22, 2021.
In Phase 1, most restrictions will stay in place with the exception of indoor fitness and outdoor entertainment:
  • Indoor fitness can allow appointment-based fitness  where there is no more than 1 customer per room or 500 square feet for large facilities. Mask and physical distancing are required.

  • Outdoor entertainment establishments can reopen in Phase 1, including zoos, outdoor theaters and concert venues, and rodeos, for example. It must be a ticketed event only with groups of 10 maximum (limited to two households). Timed ticketing is required as well as masks and physical distancing. Indoor gatherings and indoor dining are not permitted. Outdoor dining is permitted with a maximum of 6 per table, with a 11:00 pm close.

Here is the updated list of activities permitted in Phase 1 and 2:
UPDATED: November 16, 2020

On November 15, Governor Inslee announced a “Stay Safe – Stay Healthy” plan in effect for Washington state November 17 – December 14.

“In order to slow the spread of rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases in our state and ensure that hospital and medical systems are not overwhelmed, we are taking the very difficult but necessary steps to protect public health” (Washington Sate Coronavirus Response).

The following additional restrictions are in place for all counties in Washington:

Note: K-12/higher education, health care, and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions.

  1. Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
  2. Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household. 
  3. Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020. 
  4. Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
  5. Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
  6. Miscellaneous Venues:  All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
    • Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
  7. Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance. 
  8. Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
  9. Real Estate:  Open houses are prohibited. 
  10. Wedding and Funerals:  Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people.  Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
  11. In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
  12. Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
  13. Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits. 
  14. Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
    • Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
  15. Long-term Care Facilities:  Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
  16. Youth and Adult Sporting Activities:  Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.

Okanogan County’s Safe Reopening

UPDATED: October 7, 2020

Okanogan County is currently in Phase 2

Phase 2 Activities

Updated: October 7, 2020

All activities in modified Phase 1 are allowed in addition to the following:

  • Recreation: Outdoor recreation involving five or fewer people outside your household, camping, beaches, some sporting activities
  • Indoor fitness: minimum 300 square feet floor space per person, maximum 5 students per instructor-led fitness class
  • Gatherings: Gather with no more than five people outside your household per week.
  • Museums, libraries and movie theaters: allowed at 25% capacity
  • Indoor spiritual or religious services: up to 25% of capacity or 200 people (whichever is less). Choirs not allowed. In-home faith-based services or counseling with up to five people
  • Wedding ceremonies, receptions, funerals: up to 25% capacity or 30 people (whichever is less). This applies to both indoor and outdoor events
  • Travel: Essential travel and travel for activities allowed under Phase 1 and Phase 2
  • Businesses: Manufacturing, construction, real estate, photography, pet grooming, in-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.), retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions), professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged), personal services (hair and nail salons/barbers, tattoo, etc.)
    – Restaurants/taverns: less than 50 percent capacity, table size no larger than six (no bar-area seating or karaoke), alcohol service ends at 11:00 pm


What’s open in each phase? Visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response web page to see what is open and closed in each phase.


Washington’s “Safe Start” Reopening Plan

On May 29, Gov. Inslee announced an updated 4-phase, county-by-county “Safe Start” reopening plan.

In July, after a spike in COVID-19 cases, Inslee paused the Safe Start reopening plan. On October 6, the governor announced that all 39 counties would remain in their current phase, but the phases were updated to allow for more activities (read the updated guidance here). You can view the COVID-19 Risk Assessment dashboard used by the governor and public health leaders to track COVID-19 cases in each county.

Stand tall, stand strong, stand together, and we will return from COVID-19 better and more resilient.

Shared Goals

Okanogan County Public Health is committed to using local data and reliable science in our COVID-19 response. Okanogan County Public Health and our Health Officer are monitoring key indicators and will continue to advocate for the residents of Okanogan County.

At Okanogan County Public Health, our goals during this pandemic include:

    1. Public Health: Minimize the spread, morbidity, and mortality due to COVID-19
    2. Economic Health: Open Okanogan County as soon as possible to re-establish economic activity across the county
    3. Public Safety: Minimize threats to public safety (e.g. assault, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide, etc.)
    4. Collaboration: Coordinate enforcement and compliance so the county can work together to attain the three goals above

Our community is united in its goal to keep each other safe and help our economy reopen. We are Okanogan County Strong.
Staying safe during COVID-19 has been difficult for communities across the State, but our rural County has endured difficult journeys before, and we know how to come together to make it through.

Community COVID-19 Prevention and Reduction Practices

In the absence of effective vaccine and treatment options, widespread and widely adopted community measures to prevent and manage COVID-19 are the only way to minimize the disease’s activity and burden in Okanogan County.

The following community practices are essential to minimize COVID-19 disease burden. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen some of these interventions become politicized, but at their core, they are fundamental public health tools that have been practiced for centuries.

  1. Masking – Cover your face with a mask when in public spaces. The Washington State Secretary of Health has issued an order requiring masks to be worn in public places.
  2. Hygiene – Engage in frequent hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, the frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and sanitization of supplies readily available at home, work, and public places.
  3. Distancing – Maintain physical distance between yourself and others. It will be quite some time before returning to pre-COVID-19 levels of social interactions. We must exercise freedom with regard to others’ safety, respect physical distancing recommendations, and adhere to the phase-specific guidance on group gatherings.
  4. Screening and Testing – Monitor yourself for symptoms and stay home if you feel sick. Get tested right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if recommended by your healthcare provider or public health. Timely testing is essential to minimize the spread of the disease.
  5. Isolation and Quarantine – Follow isolation and quarantine guidance from your public health district or healthcare provider. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, follow isolation guidance. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow quarantine guidance.
  6. Contact Tracing – Contact tracing prevents further exposures by asking those in close contact with someone affected by COVID-19 to quarantine. When properly quarantining, COVID-19 is not able to spread to additional contacts. Answer the call and participate in contact tracing if contacted by Public Health.
  7. Sharing Accurate Information – Okanogan County Public Health is committed to using our limited resources efficiently to share accurate and updated information with the public. It is everyone’s responsibility to evaluate the information for accuracy and share factual information. Perpetuating false information is careless and dangerous, particularly during a pandemic.
  8. Limited Travel – Ask tourists not to travel to Okanogan County until non-essential travel is resumed. Limit out of county travel to only essential services or needs. Avoid out of county visitors, even if they are family.
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