‘A safe, measured approach is necessary to reopen the City’
Governor Inslee announced this week that his administration is working on a roadmap to gradually modify restrictions in the state and safely begin recovery efforts in the midst of the pandemic. Mayor Greg Wheeler agrees that a safe, measured approach will be crucial to reopening the City of Bremerton in the future when the Governor’s restrictions are lifted.
“It’s important that we are able to take deliberate steps to reduce infections from spreading too quickly when current restrictions are slowly eased,” said Mayor Wheeler. “Our City reacted early to the crisis, preventing a spike in illnesses and a large loss of life when the virus got a foothold in the counties across the water. Through the swift actions of our residents, the spread of the infection has been slowed but has not been stopped completely. COVID-19 continues to remain a threat in our community. A phased-in, measured approach will be necessary to safely start up businesses and activities to keep the virus in check over the long-term.“
Under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, essential businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other essential services are open. Non-essential businesses are closed and large gatherings and activities are not permitted until the stay-at-home directive is lifted. The Governor’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 4 and may be extended based on the trajectory of the virus.
In anticipation of starting up operations in the future, some non-essential businesses have begun exploring the health and safety standards they will need for the protection of their employees and customers.
“I applaud those businesses for thinking ahead and preparing for reopening,” said Mayor Wheeler. “When the Governor moves forward on the next phase, we will be ready to swiftly respond to help the City’s non-essential businesses with permits, inspections and other services.”
“We’ve seen an amazing response from citizens as well as businesses, both essential and non-essential, to this crisis,” Mayor Wheeler added. “In some cases, however, there have been non-essential businesses that have opened or large gatherings have taken place. We will continue to take those reports of non-compliance very seriously.”
Residents can find a list of essential and non-essential businesses and report suspected violations at www.coronavirus.wa.gov. Businesses may also make a request to be added to the list of essential businesses at the website link above.
Reports of large groups and gatherings taking place may be made by calling 9-1-1.
Mayor Wheeler urged patience when the state starts lifting restrictions and the City begins safely reopening. Currently, no widespread treatment or vaccine exists to treat the infection and protecting the health and safety of individuals will remain a priority.
“Looking ahead, there will be a next phase and we will carefully reopen our City,” said Mayor Wheeler. “When that time comes, it will be even more important to support one another and work together to hinder the spread of the virus to safeguard the lives of friends, neighbors and loved ones for the foreseeable future.”