What will it take to advance? Spokane approaching four months in phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County has a ways to go before bars, nightclubs and other businesses can fully reopen. 

While the amount of new COVID-19 cases in Spokane has dropped compared to August, the numbers are far from the target Governor Inslee set. 

This August, as cases spiked around the state, Governor Inslee put a freeze on counties moving to the next phase of the state’s reopening plan. It’s still unsure when that ban will be lifted. 

Even if it were, Spokane County still wouldn’t be ready for phase 3 or 4, according to the state’s reopening plan. 

Spokane County has been stuck in phase 2 since May 22. For places like the Spokane Comedy Club, it’s been 116 days without any shows or laughs. 

To get by, the building has become The Spokane Shake Company… with limited seating. 

The owners posted an open letter to Gov. Inslee on Facebook, and encouraged others to send it as well. 

It read, in part: “If a business with a restaurant license is able to have tables set up 6 feet apart, and follow all other safety protocols, they should be allowed to have a single individual on stage, the same way a church can.” 

Under the state’s reopening plan, live entertainment and large sporting events aren’t allowed until phase 4. 

In order for Spokane County to move to phase 3, the Governor would have to lift the ban on counties moving forward. Then, new cases would have to drop below 25 per 100,000. The first two weeks of September saw more improvement. 114 cases per 100,000. 

Once the county moves to phase 3, we will have to wait at least another two weeks for phase 4. News cases can’t top that 25 per 100,000 target. 

Once Spokane hits that target, students could start to head back into the classroom.

READ: COVID-19 deaths surpass 2,000 in Washington state