Spokane Co. officials, residents urging Gov. Inslee to allow regional approach for reopening

SPOKANE, Wash.– We’ll have a better idea Friday afternoon of what it’s going to take to reopen Washington’s economy.

Gov. Inslee said the stay home order is going to be extended beyond May 4, and on Friday he is announcing the phases needed to get the state back in business.

A lot of people in Spokane County are anxious to hear what the governor has to say. Dan Koolstra is leading a group of people who plan to protest the stay-home order on May 5th, if the governor’s extension doesn’t include some kind of modification for eastern Washington.

“I would like to see the governor take a more active approach at opening us up quicker,” Koolstra said.

Koolstra shares the frustration of many people across the state and is eager to see people get back to work.

“They need to produce income, they need to make their mortgages, they need to pay their taxes, they need to make payments on their car insurance,” Koolstra said. “Right now, we’re being deprived of that.”

Koolstra believes life should be going back to normal in some parts of the state, because COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction.

He’s right about that, because right now just 10 people are in Spokane County hospitals suffering from COVID-19.

That’s why elected officials in eastern Washington are pushing for a regional approach.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said Inslee is slowly changing his mind about letting that happen.

“Just two weeks ago, (he) was not open to a regional approach, now he is,” Woodward said.

If Inslee doesn’t allow a regional approach, Woodward said they’ll keep pushing.

But, they don’t plan on going against state orders at any point.

“We’re not going to act outside of our authority and that our approach was to put pressure and advocate for our region,” Woodward said.

But, if that regional approach doesn’t happen, people like Koolstra plan to protest the decision.

Mayor Woodward said she understands the frustration all around, but hopes those protests don’t get out of hand.”

Woodward also said the regional approach plan is being worked on right now, specifically looking at which businesses might be able to open up first.

That plan will be sent to the governor next week.

RELATED: Contact tracing will be key factor in reopening U.S. economy

RELATED: Elected officials in eastern Washington pushing for ‘slow reopening’ of economy