Serving Franklin County, WA

Franklin County moving to Phase 2 of reopening

Governor eases coronavirus quarantine on area residents, businesses

PASCO — Franklin County is moving to Phase 2 reopening status following an announcement today, Oct. 13, by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The governor announced that he will also boost Benton, Yakima, Chelan and Douglas counties to the same phase of his coronavirus quarantine reopening plan. The counties are the last five to still be in a "modified" Phase 1.

The Benton County Health District confirmed the upgraded status, with Health Officer Dr. Amy Person crediting residents.

“The residents of Benton and Franklin counties have substantially lowered the peak disease activity we saw in July of this year,” she said. “The community has demonstrated our counties can open activities safely and it’s great news to see the recognition for their efforts.”

Franklin County applied to move to Phase 2 in June, but the governor's adminstration rejected the request and later put all counties "on hold" in their then-existing reopening phase.

Despite the governor's quarantine orders, not everything remained shuttered due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

Hundreds of fishermen turned out in May for a protest on the river. And hundreds of Republicans continue to protest almost weekly in the region.

Basin City hosted its annual Freedom Rodeo and parade during the Independence Day weekend, attracting thousands of spectators. And it hosted a high school rodeo last month.

Franklin County Republicans have also continued to meet regularly.

And while Franklin County remained in Phase 1, the Kahlotus School Distric resumed on-campus instruction more than a month ago.

Under Phase 2, camping and gatherings of up to five people are now allowed by the governor. League bowling is also allowed.

Barberships, hair and nail salons, and pet service businesses are allowed to reopen; restaurants can resume indoor service at 50% capacity. Bars and taverns can resume serving, with alcohol says ending by 11 p.m.

The new status allows museums, libraries and movie theaters to operate at 25% capacity.

Weddings, funerals and receptions can resume, as can religious services of 200 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less.

Meeting venues can reopen again at up to 30% capacity.

Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier has been calling for county government to resume meetings for months, but has been blocked by Commissioners Lowell "Brad" Peck and Robert "Bob" Koch.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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