On Friday, May 29th, the Mayors of Carnation, Duvall, North Bend and Snoqualmie sent a joint letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee requesting the small, rural Snoqualmie Valley cities be allowed to immediately move to phase 2 of the State’s 4-stage Safe Start reopening plan.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert made the same request for Fall City. The SnoValley Chamber of Commerce also requested the same of the governor and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
In part, the mayors’ letter said:
Our cities have seen infection rates far lower than big cities in the King County and we feel strongly that many of our small businesses can – and should – be able to open today, in advance of the remainder of King County.
In many ways, our small cities are very similar to the small counties that have already been able to open for Phase II. We respectfully and strongly request that the Snoqualmie Valley be evaluated and restrictions loosened separate from King County as a whole.
We have all been meeting with our small businesses, and know without a shadow of a doubt that the overwhelming majority can re-open safely, today, taking all recommended precautions, and many going even further.
The four Snoqualmie Valley cities and their unincorporated areas, along with the town of Fall City, have a combined population of approximately 56,000, with 83 COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths since the outbreak began. Only 4 of those cases were reported in May: 3 in Snoqualmie and one in North Bend.
On Friday, King County Executive Dow Constantine also announced they would request state approval to enter a modified phase 1 (‘phase 1.5’), allowing for some phase 2 businesses and activities to start at reduced capacities. King County has not yet met key criteria to enter Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan, citing unstable virus case counts.
The state is expected to release applications for modified re-opening requests this weekend. King County anticipates submitting its application early next week (June 1st week). According to a source with knowledge of the variance process, the state has typically been approving county variance requests within 24-72 hours.
The Snoqualmie Valley mayors are requesting to move to phase 2 if King County Phase 1 restrictions remain in place.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said, “In lieu of that, I’d take a modified phase 2 over no change.”
At time of publishing, Larson said the coalition of mayors had not received a response from the governor.