Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille counties apply to advance to phase 3 of state’s reopening plan

STEVENS CO., Wash. — Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties have applied to advance to phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.

The Northeast Tri County Health District, which serves the three counties, held a special board meeting on June 2 to discuss advancement to phase 3. Health Officer Dr. Sam Artzis and the Board of Health voted affirmatively to proceed. Each Board of County Commissioners also passed resolutions to advance.

The full application was submitted early Wednesday to the state Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman and a decision is expected within a few days.

Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide stay home order expired on Sunday. The state has now moved to a county-by-county assessment. The new plan allows counties more flexibility to apply to advance through the current four-phase Safe Start plan.

RELATED: WA virus order expiring, counties get more flexibility

Once counties have been in Phase 2 for at least three weeks they can apply to move to Phase 3, which expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75 percent. Gyms and movie theaters can reopen at half capacity, but nightclubs and entertainment venues will still remain closed.

Whitman County is also looking to apply for variance to advance to phase 3. According to Pullman Radio, the Whitman County Commissioners are scheduled to meet Friday morning to consider submitting their application. The county is not eligible to apply until Friday, which will mark three weeks since the county entered phase 2.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

RELATED: Moving to Phase 3 by mid-June would be ‘premature’, Spokane Co. Health Officer says