FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2020
Greetings members of the Washougal Community. I hope this message finds you and your family well and coping as our community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and we all continue to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy.” The situation regarding our state response to COVID-19 is transitioning to a phased reopening, “Safe Start Washington.”
Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced an extension of his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation through May 31. He also announced the “Safe Start Washington” plan, a four-phased approach to reopen our state. A link to information regarding this plan is included at the end of this message. I encourage you to review the information for details about the four phases, including which restrictions are lifted in each phase. Through May 31, the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation continues to require all of us to stay home, except for certain activities. Several activities have been opened-up in the last week, including some outdoor recreation; drive-in spiritual services; resumption of existing construction; landscaping businesses; automobile sales; retail curb-side pick-up; car washes; and pet walking businesses.
We are currently in Phase 1, and it is hoped that we will move to Phase 2 by early June. That decision depends upon several factors related to the spread of and response to COVID-19, as described in the governor’s plan. Some of these factors include: COVID-19 disease activity; heath care system readiness; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; and ability to protect high-risk populations. Once we move to Phase 2, there will be a minimum of three weeks before a transition to the next phase is announced by the governor.
We understand that the continuation of the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation until the end of this month is impactful to our community, and we continue to empathize with the uncertainty of when things will open up according to the new “Safe Start Washington” plan. The City continues to monitor this situation and revise our response according to the governor’s proclamations.
To comply with the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation and “Safe Start Washington” plan, all City facilities will continue be closed to the public until we reach Phase 3. The specific timing will depend upon how the “Safe Start Washington” plan unfolds. According to the plan, public facing government offices can reopen at Phase 3. Before city facilities reopen, we will ensure that appropriate social distancing and sanitation practices are implemented. Council meetings will remain on a virtual platform until we reach Phase 3 or 4. Please check out our website for information on how to access the meetings at https://cityofwashougal.us.
The City is still open for business during this closure, but with limits and protocols in place consistent with guidance for appropriate social distancing. Please visit https://cityofwashougal.us/COVID19 for information about how you can access City services. We will continue to evaluate this situation as events unfold.
As we move further into the spring season, we know that sunny weather is on the way. This provides the opportunity for all of us to get outside and enjoy our beautiful area. Most of our parks remain open for your use and enjoyment, provided you follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines. The City of Washougal has begun implementing a phased approach to reopen some city parks and facilities that have been closed. The first step has been to open Lower Hathaway Park allowing citizens to recreate by the river. Sandy Swimming Hole, Steamboat Landing Dock, playgrounds, restrooms, sports courts/fields, and picnic shelters will remain closed until Phase Three of Governor Inslee’s plan. I encourage you to take advantage of our open parks while following social distancing guidelines, so that we can keep them open for all of us to enjoy.
The City continues to closely monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and implement appropriate actions in response to this evolving situation. We are following the lead and guidance of our governor and are working alongside Clark County Public Health and CRESA (Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency) and surrounding partner municipalities to implement coordinated response and communication. These closures and operational measures are consistent with actions being taken by other cities in Clark County.
The situation will continue to evolve, and our response will continue to change accordingly. We will share additional information and updates as they are available. In the meantime, information on the state and regional response can be found on the following websites:
These measures ordered by the governor and implemented by Washougal and cities across Clark County are impactful but are intended to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen our communities. We acknowledge that there is differing opinion about how quickly we should reopen our state, but we are encouraged by the “light at the end of the tunnel” represented by the “Safe Start Washington” plan as we gradually reopen, and encourage everyone to continue to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” this month. Please consistently practice the hygienic and social distancing measures recommended by Clark County Public Health and the CDC. It is vitally important that we all stay informed, stay calm and work together to keep our community safe and healthy in order to safely reopen.
We encourage you to continue to support our local businesses by accessing professional and other services as they are available, patronizing stores that are open, ordering to-go meals from our restaurants and making curb-side retail purchases from our stores that have been previously closed. Find out who is open for business at cityofwashougal.us.
On behalf of the Mayor, Council and staff at the City, we extend our thanks to the Washougal community for rising to the occasion. We can all do our part to safely reopen and get through and past this situation together.
Thank you for doing your part for our community.