Update from Councilmember Megan Dunn Regarding Phase 2

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News from Councilmember Megan Dunn

June 5, 2020

Megan Dunn's eNewsletter

CM Dunn Headshot

Snohomish County Council
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 609
Everett, Washington 98201
8th floor, Robert J. Drewel Building 
Phone: 425-388-3494
E-Mail: Megan.Dunn@snoco.org


Paula Rhyne, Legislative Aide


Last week, the Snohomish Health District and County Council unanimously approved the submittal of a variance application to the State Department of Health. This variance was prepared with recommendations and expert guidance from our County’s Health Officer. Today I am writing with the good news that the Washington State Department of Health has approved our variance application and Snohomish County can now move to Phase 2 of reopening, effective immediately.   

There are several different markers that the County needed to meet in order for this variance to be approved, and with the Governor’s new “Safe Start Washington plan, Snohomish County has met the criteria needed. It’s important that we all keep in mind that as our communities and businesses begin to reopen, there are guidelines that we must follow to ensure that we don’t have a spike in new COVID cases which could land us back into Phase 1 restrictions. If you are a business needing guidance on how to best reopen, please see the section below and also check out this Safe Opening Toolkit put out by the City of Everett.  

It has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it to this point, and I’m pleased to hear that we can begin to resume some activities, while continuing to practice social distancing, wearing masks, and maintaining good hand hygiene practices. In today’s newsletter, I will be sharing more about what to expect in Phase 2, what businesses are allowed to open, resources for employers and employees, and other good news in the community.  

While Phase 2 does re-open some businesses and activities, there are still restrictions in place that residents should be aware of. In Phase 2, general guidelines include:  

  • Gatherings with no more than 5 people from outside your household per week. This includes outdoor recreation like camping, hiking or beach trips.  
  • High-risk populations – such as people older than 60, those with underlying health conditions, or pregnant women – should continue to stay home aside from essential business and errands.  
  • Non-essential travel will be limited to activities that are approved to reopen under Phase 2, and those will come with health and safety guidance to follow. For example, restaurants could reopen at limited on-site capacity, with appropriate social distancing, no more than five customers per table, and no bar-area seating.  
  • For people who can continue to work remotely, teleworking is strongly encouraged. 

If you have any questions or concerns, or if our office can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at 425-388-3494 or via email at Megan.Dunn@snoco.org. 



Turning the Dial To Reopen

As we move into Phase 2, it’s going to look a little different as we head back to our favorite stores. The Snohomish Health District asks that we all continue to practice social distancing, and if you can’t reliably stay six feet away from other people, please wear a mask. Masks have been proven to not just protect you from breathing in the virus if it’s in the air, but it can keep the virus contained if you have contracted COVID but aren’t showing any symptoms yet. Additionally, it’s imperative that we all do our part to protect the frontline workers at the stores we visit who work with members of the public every day. Their jobs are often low-wage jobs with minimal benefits and they and their families are least able to withstand the economic impacts of a long illness. Wearing a mask is for the safety and well-being of our County. 

Here are some additional allowances during Phase 2: 

  • Increased outdoor recreational activities including hiking, fishing, camping, and tennis 
  • Indoor faith-based services at a place of worship can be held up to 25% capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less. The numbers exclude organizational staff. There are additional safety parameters which are listed here 
  • Personal services like hair and nail salons may open with modifications 
  • Restaurants and taverns can open at less than 50% capacity and tables no larger than 5.  
  • Small Group fitness classes may resume (less than five people) 
  • And libraries can open with curbside pick-up only 
  • In-home and domestic services like nannies and housecleaners can resume 
  • Real Estate 
  • Additional construction phases can resume/begin 

Here is a link to the State website with more information about Phase 2. 

WA Phased Opening

Information for Businesses Reopening

With guidance from the Snohomish Health District, The City of Everett has developed a comprehensive toolkit that small businesses can use as they begin to reopen. This resource can help guide business owners as they create a safe reopening plan. Visit www.everettforeverett.com/safeopening for more info and links to signage, or click here to download the “Getting to Safe” guide.  

As businesses reopen I know that there can be a lot of uncertainty regarding what is and isn’t allowed under each of the phases. The Governor has set detailed parameters regarding various industries and business sectors. Here is the link to the State’s page with guidance for businesses.  

With all businesses working to reopen, it’s imperative that it’s done carefully and with safety in mind for customers and employees. Law requires employers to provide facemasks and other necessary PPE for their employees and are asked to post signage strongly encouraging customers to wear cloth facial coverings. Here is a list with the baseline checklist for PPE, checklist for cleaning facilities, and preparing your employees for when they come back. All of these handy checklists and more can be found at the “Getting to Safe” guide. While this was created by and for the City of Everett, many of the resources are helpful for businesses in the area. More specific data for your individual industry can be found at the State site.  

Information for Employees

Many of the employees who work in our retail stores, restaurants, nail salons, bakeries, and other businesses that are just now beginning to reopen are generally low-wage workers who frequently work with the public and are more susceptible to contracting COVID through frequent contact with various people. Because of the nature of their work, they are also less likely to have access to the sick days or health insurance needed to recover from this virus.  

The State has protections for employees to have a safe working environment. Special considerations have been made for employees who are considered high-risk. These parameters can be read about on this Proclamation from the Governor. You can report workplace safety complaints to the Department of Labor & Industries Call Center at 1-800-423-7233. Recognizing that not all employees have equal access to report wrongdoings there are local organizations that can help advocate on behalf of the person impacted. Northwest Justice Project has an Everett location (they can also help with landlord/tenant issues) and here is a link to Washington Law Help which has access to documents and other free resources. 

A Note About Equity

I see a clear intersection between the impacts of COVID and the protests in response to the death of George Floyd. According to Front and Centered and their Black Lives Matter Statement, “(COVID 19) has ravaged our communities in a way that largely mirrors the existing inequities and structural racism inherent in our healthcare systems.” Demographic data provided by Snohomish County’s Health District shows that people who identify as Hispanic or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander have over 200 cases per 100,000 in population, and people who identify as African American have 157 cases per 100,000 in population. These numbers are compared to 85 cases per 100,000 for people who identify as Caucasian. Not only are our communities of color disproportionately experiencing negative health outcomes from this pandemic, they are also disproportionately targeted by our justice system. These disparities are a result of ongoing structural systemic inequities and it is time that we acknowledge these inequities and repair these cracks in our community’s foundation.   

On June 3rd, Snohomish County Council passed Resolution 20-013 in response to the wrongful death of George Floyd and others, condemning racism, and supporting peaceful protests in Snohomish County. Denouncing racism is an important start, but they are only words on a page unless followed by action. We each have a role in making change and I will honor my commitment to actively implement meaningful change.  

Equal justice under the law is not a reality for all Americans and families in this County. As a majority white led Council and County, we must acknowledge and understand this as a truth that some in our community experience. We are overdue to change structural problems and remove barriers. People are protesting and risking their lives to bring attention to inadequate policies and lack of police accountability. We have historically continued to fail to value the lives of all people in this county and country. 

Voting in favor of this Resolution was one of my first steps in my role as a Councilmember to address systemic inequities and historic structural racism in our County. I have also asked Councilmember Mead as the Law and Justice Committee Chair to consider a Community Review Board as a subcommittee of the Regional Law and Justice Commission under RCW 72.09.300. I will host an online forum to hear directly from community members and officers. I will be meeting with community advocates to hear more about their experiences and am forming a Community Advisory Committee to recommend next steps. I will also be reaching out to law enforcement and welcome their involvement.  

Additionally, I am committed to elevating the voices of our communities of color, and I support the Snohomish County NAACP’s request to adopt the following: 

●      Create a community oversight and an accountability task force that reviews complaints of excessive force or misconduct by law enforcement; 

●      Install dash and body cams and require their use; 

●      Release and investigate community complaints about law enforcement; and  

●      Provide training that addresses how to recognize and manage systemic discrimination, biases, and to deescalate situations. 

It is time to take responsibility and change our policies, acknowledge the need to improve and make positive change which is embedded in the leadership of impacted frontline communities and responsible officers who are ready to have tough conversations.  

In Closing

I’m so thrilled that our County can move to the next phase of reopening. These past few months have been so difficult for so many of us in many different ways. Hopefully with this new phase of opening, our economy and livelihood won’t be as damaged as it could have been. A reminder that without all of the measures that we have all worked hard to implement and honor, we wouldn’t be in the place where our case count and other thresholds could have been met.  

Please continue to do your part to insure that our County can stay in Phase 2 and not move backwards. Please practice good hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and wear a mask in public. We can all beat this together (but 6’ apart)! 

Be Well,  

Megan Dunn 

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