While Jefferson County is preparing to move ahead with asking for a variance on Phase 1 restrictions, both Jefferson and Clallam counties are seeing parks and golf courses slowly open up.
There were no new confirmed COVID-19 cases in either North Olympic Peninsula county this weekend.
There was a possible case in Arizona involving someone who may have contracted the virus there and has recovered, but that person’s official place of residence may be in Jefferson County. However, as of Sunday, that case had not been added to Jefferson County totals, said Dr. Tom Locke, the county health officer.
The number of reported cases on the Peninsula remains at even 50 — 29 in Jefferson County and 21 in Clallam County.
Olympic National Park reopened parts of the park this weekend at Lake Crescent and Sol Duc Valley. County parks also opened up last week to day use such as hiking and bicycling.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron said there were no reports of trouble at the county parks last week.
On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee clarified some of the rules regarding the reopening of golf courses.
“We’re open to foursomes,” said Bill Shea, general manager of Cedars at Dungeness near Sequim. “We’re playing golf. The course is in terrific shape.”
He also said 7 Cedars’ snack shack is open, and he is looking forward to the course’s restaurant and bar being able to open in perhaps a couple of weeks.
Inslee’s clarified rules also allow multiple people to be in the same golf cart if they live in the same household.
“Two guys drive up from Seattle in the same car, but they’re not allowed to be in the same cart,” Shea said. “It seems a little arbitrary, but we’re doing our best.”
Some outdoor golf instruction also is allowed in Inslee’s clarification.
This will be a busy week for Jefferson County as officials are moving forward with requesting a variance, possibly by Friday.
The Board of Jefferson County commissioners will receive a COVID-19 update from Locke today (May 18) at 9:45 a.m., and they will have a discussion at 4:30 p.m. with representatives from the Washington Association of Counties.
On Tuesday, May 19, the county commissioners will have a joint meeting at 5 p.m. with the Port Townsend City Council, Port of Port Townsend commissioners, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Jefferson County PUD commissioners to discuss the waiver from Phase 1.
Locke expects the county board of health will meet Thursday, May 21, to recommend moving forward with the waiver, and that the county commissioners will decide during a special meeting on May 22, although neither of those meetings have been formally scheduled yet.
Locke said Jefferson County has received comments about the pace the county is taking on working on its waiver. Nine other counties that were given the same opportunity to apply for a waiver have already done so, and all have been approved.
Locke said Jefferson County has gone to great lengths to take as much input as possible.
“We wanted to make sure there is maximum participation of all the stakeholders,” he said.