Jefferson County Board of Health urges reopening of overnight camping

Board urges Phase 3 application on June 29

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Board of Health unanimously approved on Thursday allowing overnight camping to resume immediately in the county.

It also decided unanimously to recommend that public health officials submit a variance application to the state for the county to move to Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan on June 29.

The variance application recommendation for Phase 3 will go before the county commissioners at 1 p.m. today for final approval.

The idea behind delaying the application until June 29 is to give businesses time to prepare for the loosened restrictions and to clarify how food establishments can enforce county health officer Dr. Tom Locke’s face mask mandate.

New case

One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Jefferson County on Thursday. The person was asymptomatic and was tested as a precaution before a dental procedure.

The total number of confirmed cases in Jefferson County is now 32, with 30 cases recovered, Locke said.

Overnight camping was originally put on hold until Clallam County reopened camping, but since the Clallam County Board of Health decided at its meeting Tuesday to hold off on reopening camping, the Jefferson County Board of Health members decided it was time to open camping in Jefferson County.

All Phase 3 activities would start if and when the state approves the application. Approval is expected two to three days after the application is submitted, Locke said.

“Risk can never be eliminated; it can only be controlled,” said Locke in his recommendation to the board of health. “The time will never be better than it is now to further open businesses and community activities.

“The warming weather and greater amount of time spent outdoors reduces the risk of virus transmission. The public health and medical care systems are prepared. Emergency management and volunteer networks are ready to respond,” Locke continued.

“Phase 3 will be an extraordinary challenge, more difficult than many imagine. But challenges are best met head on, not deferred.”

Board member and District 1 county Commissioner Kate Dean agreed with Locke’s assessment.

“I don’t think there’ll be a better time than now,” she said. “We have to use the data we have today to see if we can manage this.”

If the application is approved, Phase 3 would allow for outdoor group recreation and sports activities involving 50 or fewer people and recreational facilities — such as gyms and public pools — to open at less than 50 percent capacity.

Phase 3 also allows gatherings with no more than 50 people and the resumption of non-essential travel. It expands business/employer openings and allows restaurants/taverns to operate at 75 percent capacity with table sizes no larger than 10. Bar areas in restaurants/taverns can open at 25 percent capacity.

Theaters can open at 50 percent capacity. Customer-facing government services can resume,but telework remains strongly encouraged.

Libraries and museums can reopen. All other business activities not specifically mentioned under the previous phases can open, except for nightclubs and events with greater than 50 people.

However, high risk populations are strongly encouraged — but not required — to stay home unless engaging in Phase 1, 2 or 3 permissible activities, Locke said.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com or by phone at 360-385-2335 ext. 5

More in News

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council leaders celebrate the opening of the tribe’s new library at its Blyn campus on Saturday. Pictured, from left, are treasurer Theresa Lehman, vice chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger, chair/CEO Ron Allen and secretary Rochelle Blankenship. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe celebrates library opening

Chairman/CEO: New facility is ‘second to none’

Solar array, battery storage to be installed on Port Angeles Senior Center

System could provide hours of backup power in case of an outage

UPDATE: Power restored between Sequim, Port Angeles

A tree has been removed from a Clallam County PUD… Continue reading

Road work to close Quinault Loop

Work crews from Haztech Drilling will begin geotechnical drilling… Continue reading

Fiber gathering Thursday at Studio Bob

Marva Holmes will host “St*tch & B*tch” at 4:30… Continue reading

Dream Playground to be fully covered by insurance

Donations still will be used in May rebuild

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading

The City of Sequim hosts 13 manufactured home/mobile home parks with 596 existing units and 786 approved dwelling units. City staff continue to look into zoning options that could protect these sites from redevelopment to help protect affordable housing options in the city. (City of Sequim)
Sequim extends its mobile home moratorium

City staff to work preserving manufactured housing option

Olympic Medical Center chief outlines efforts at improvements

Decreased number of travelers among them

Jay and Trudi Inslee wear red for #WearRedDay to support women’s heart health in 2022. (Jay Inslee)
Gov. Inslee reflects in his final year of three terms

On the second level of the white and gray marbled… Continue reading

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored