Camas to reopen city facilities on July 1

Masks still required for unvaccinated visitors, employees; state launches vaccine-incentive lottery

More than 15 months after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered government buildings, businesses and other establishments throughout Clark County, the city of Camas is set to reopen its city facilities on July 1.

The city’s new guidelines will require unvaccinated individuals to keep wearing masks while inside city buildings, but will allow vaccinated citizens to forgo wearing a face covering.

“Additionally, social distancing and mask protocols may also be in place for certain city-sponsored activities or in certain city buildings, regardless of the new guidelines,” the city stated in a news release.

Camas Parks and Recreation will begin opening city buildings on July 1 for nonprofit groups to use for meeting space, and for the public to rent for events such as weddings or reunions. Users will be required to follow any updated city guidelines for each facility, including Lacamas Lodge, the Fallen Leaf Lake park shelter and the Camas Community Center.

The Camas Public Library will resume pre-COVID hours — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday — beginning July 6. The library will allow the public to resume using its meeting rooms on July 1. To book a reservation for a library meeting room, visit cityofcamas.us/library/page/book-room.

At a Camas City Council meeting held Monday, June 7, Camas City Administrator Jamal Fox noted the city will allow workers who are able to continue working remotely to do so. Employees who are unable to telework or work remotely will be reporting back to city facilities in early August, Fox said.

City employees who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear face coverings at work, but will need to show proof of their vaccination status.

“Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals who intend to use city facilities,” Fox said Monday.

Several residents touched on the city’s reopening during the meeting’s public comment period, and encouraged city leaders to begin holding city council meetings in person again.

“We are rapidly approaching 70 percent vaccination in our state and community, and it’s time to end the (COVID-19 emergency) proclamation and meet in public again,” said Camas resident John Ley.

Leslie Lewallen, a Camas resident running to be on the Camas City Council, agreed with Ley’s assessment.

“I believe the council should be meeting in-person from now on,” Lewallen said. “We’re at 70 percent vaccination in the state of Washington and I believe that open meetings to encourage healthy debate and accountability would be prudent.”

As Fox later pointed out, the vaccination rate in the state and county is not at 70 percent. Instead, Fox said, 57 percent of those eligible in Washington have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 47 percent are fully vaccinated.

“We are on our way to the 70-percent threshold the governor has stated,” Fox said, adding that people who would like to find a place to receive a COVID-19 vaccination should visit vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov or vaccinefinder.org or call 833-VAX-HELP.

The Council did vote unanimously to retain the original proclamation of a civil emergency, but get rid of an April 15, 2020, supplement and June 16, 2020, amendment related to the city’s hiring moratorium and placing non-essential city capital projects on hold.

Governor announces lottery, other vaccination incentives

Gov. Jay Inslee recently announced the state will soon offer incentives for Washingtonians to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

The state is conducting one drawing for a $250,000 cash prize every week for four weeks through June, with a final drawing for a $1 million prize at the end of the four weeks. Washintonians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into the drawings. The state Lottery will automatically gather names from the state Department of Health’s immunization database.

Other incentives for people to get inoculated against COVID-19 include college tuition credits for people ages 12 to 17, who are old enough to receive the vaccine, but not old enough to qualify for the Lottery’s cash prizes; tickets to to Seattle Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, OL Reign and Storm games; airline tickets; game systems; gift cards and even free camping trips, Discover Passes for state parks and gift certificates for fishing and hunting licenses.

To read more about the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” vaccine-incentives program, visit medium.com/wagovernor.