Plans for Recovery and How to Return to Work

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A woman working from home

As the COVID-19 curve appears to be flatting somewhat, people are starting to think about and plan for coronavirus recovery and how to return to work.  The basic outlines of plans are starting to take shape.  As we hear details, we will post them here.


The White House published a three-phased Opening Up America Again plan.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently announced a get back to work plan.

In Washington, visit the Safe Start page for guidance and information on phased reopening.  Click to see a chart of the four PhasesEach phase will be at least three weeksdata and metrics will determine when the state can move from one phase to another. Read the full Safe Start policy plan here.  Full list of guidance for all current businesses. Inslee also released a statement and guidance on voluntary contact information as part of phased reopening.

The following businesses are in Phase 1 and can open and with social distancing and social gathering rules:

  • Construction can resume under COVID-19 construction job site requirements.
    • Workers must remain farther than 6-feet apart
    • All job sites must have a plan to address COVID-19 monitoring and control;
    • All employees must be trained to follow COVID-19 protocols
    • All employees must wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • And more. Click here for details.
  • Some recreational activities including day use at state parks, playing golf, recreational fishing and hunting. Before traveling, check with your destination.
  • Landscaping
  • Automobile sales
  • Retail (curb-side pick-up orders only)Car washes
  • Housecleaning– guidance pending
  • Pet walkers
  • Drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle

Updated.  Counties can apply for a variance, which would allow them to open more businesses than allowed statewide.  Clark, Spokane, Adams, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Clallam, Kitsap, Island, Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Whitman, and San Juan counties are approved to move to Phase 2.  Click here to see the current status of all Washington counties.  For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, all construction, including new work, is allowed, effective May 15.   Phase 2 Guidance documents:

The Business and Worker page on will be updated with guidance as it is released.  Visit Washington’s What’s Open page for more information about which personal, recreational and spiritual activities are allowed in the current phase.

The following Washington proclamations ended May 4, 2020:

The Association of Washington Business (AWB), Washington Roundtable (WR), Oregon Business Council (OBC) and Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) and two employer groups from California pledged their support for the recently formed Western States Pact and offered to work with the governors of the three states to assist in the reopening of their economies.  Colorado and Nevada  announced they will join Washington, Oregon and California in the Western States Pact.

In Oregon, visit the Oregon Reopening Page for the latest information.  ‘Non-urgent’ medical procedures can resume on May 1.  The Governor’s Executive Order Page also contains a wealth of resources.  The reopening will occur in phases, each of which will last at least 21 days.  Counties can apply for early transition to later phases of reopening.  Visit the Oregon Reopening Page to see the status of each Oregon county.

Phase I Details

In Phase I, counties can begin the limited reopening of the following sectors under specific safety guidelines:

  • Restaurants and bars for sit-down service
  • Personal care and services businesses, including barbers and salons
  • In-person gatherings of up to 25 people

Counties may apply to the Governor for permission to open additional business sectors if they:

  • Show a decline in COVID-19 or have fewer than 5 hospitalizations
  • Have sufficient COVID-19 testing and contact tracing capability
  • Establish plans for the isolation and quarantine of new cases
  • Have the hospital capacity to handle any surge in COVID-19 cases
  • Have enough personal protective equipment for health care workers

Counties may begin submitting applications on May 9.  Once approved, counties must remain in Phase I for at least 21 days before becoming eligible to advance to Phase II. If counties begin to see significant increases in COVID-19 cases or community spread, the Oregon Health Authority will work with local public health officials to evaluate what actions should be taken. Significant growth in COVID-19 spread could necessitate a county moving back from Phase I to a stay-home status. More details on Phases II and III are forthcoming.

The Governor also announced that large gatherings such as conventions, festivals, and major concerts and live audience sporting events will need to be cancelled at least through September. Restarting events of this size will require a reliable treatment or prevention, like a vaccine, which is many months off. Further guidance on large events will be provided in the coming months.

A full media kit is available under the Reopening Oregon Documents tab on the Oregon Health Authority’s website .

A full copy of Governor Brown’s remarks is available here.

Video of Governor Brown’s press availability is available here.

A video presentation explaining the phased reopening process is available here.

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