Clark County enters Phase 2

Less restrictive phase allows for limited indoor dining, 25-percent capacity in gyms, theaters; region will remain in Phase 2 through at least March 1

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A sign posted to the front of A Beer at a Time in downtown Camas in October 2020 tells patrons they must wear a face covering inside the restaurant. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record file photo)

Camas-Washougal businesses, including restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, reopened to limited indoor services this week as Clark County moved into Phase 2 of the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan.

The Southwest Washington region will remain in Phase 2 through at least March 1. To remain in Phase 2 after March 1, the region must meet at least three of the following metrics established by the Washington State Department of Health:

  • Have decreasing or flat rates of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period;
  • Have decreasing or flat trends in 14-day new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100,000 residents;
  • Have an average seven-day intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy of less than 90 percent; and/or
  • Have a seven-day positive COVID-19 test trend rate of less than 10 percent.

The region, which includes Clark County as well as Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties, was meeting the first three metrics as of Feb. 11, but had a seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate of 14 percent.

Clark County’s COVID-19 transmission rate has been steadily dropping since a mid-January high of 473.7 cases per 100,000 residents. As of Feb. 15, the county’s COVID-19 activity rate was at 209.8 cases — down from 262.2 the week before — per 100,000 residents.

Dr. Steven Krager, deputy health officer for the region, said mitigation efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 are proving successful.

“The move to Phase 2 demonstrates that our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working,” Krager said, adding that residents should maintain mitigation efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus that has infected nearly 18,000 in Clark County and led to the deaths of 212 Clark County residents over the past year.

“We must continue to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and avoid social gatherings to ensure we remain in Phase 2,” Krager said.

The move to Phase 2 of the state’s new reopening plan eased COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, social gatherings and other activities beginning Sunday, Feb. 14. The new restrictions still ask residents to wear face coverings and distance at least six feet when they are around people from outside their immediate households.

Under Phase 2, indoor social gatherings are limited to five people from up to two households and outdoor social gatherings are limited to 15 people from up to two households.

Restaurants are now able to provide indoor dining with no more than 25 percent capacity. Restaurant staff must wear face coverings and diners should only remove face coverings when eating or drinking.

Indoor fitness and recreation facilities, including gyms and indoor pools, are now allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity.

Indoor entertainment venues, including movie theaters and bowling alleys, as well as indoor weddings and funerals, also reopened this week and are able to operate at 25 percent capacity, or up to 200 people, whichever is less.

Outdoor sports, fitness and entertainment venues can operate with up to 200 participants.

Several Camas-Washougal restaurants reopened their doors to limited indoor dining on Sunday. The historic Liberty Theatre in downtown Camas is set to reopen with 25 percent capacity and seat reservations on Friday, Feb. 19. The theater said on its website that it “strongly recommends” buying online tickets, but will also sell tickets at the walk-up box office, which will open at least 30 minutes before each show. The theater will show “News of the World,” starring Tom Hanks, as well as “The Croods: A New Age” and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic, “Vertigo,” during its first week of the Phase 2 reopening plan.