The city of Washougal has begun implementing a phased approach to open some city parks and facilities
WASHOUGAL — In a letter from City Manager David Scott Thursday, the city of Washougal offered its citizens an update in its response to the coronavirus pandemic and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy’’ order.
Scott pointed out that the city was transitioning to a phased reopening in light of Inslee’s “Safe Start Washington,” four-phased approach to reopen the state.
“Through May 31, the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ proclamation continues to require all of us to stay home, except for certain activities,’’ Scott wrote. “Several activities have been opened-up in the last week, including some outdoor recreation; drive-in spiritual services; resumption of existing construction; landscaping businesses; automobile sales; retail curb-side pick-up; car washes; and pet walking businesses.
“We are currently in Phase 1, and it is hoped that we will move to Phase 2 by early June. That decision depends upon several factors related to the spread of and response to COVID-19, as described in the governor’s plan,’’ Scott added. “Some of these factors include: COVID-19 disease activity; health care system readiness; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; and ability to protect high-risk populations. Once we move to Phase 2, there will be a minimum of three weeks before a transition to the next phase is announced by the governor.
“We understand that the continuation of the governor’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ proclamation until the end of this month is impactful to our community, and we continue to empathize with the uncertainty of when things will open up according to the new “Safe Start Washington” plan,’’ Scott wrote. “The City continues to monitor this situation and revise our response according to the governor’s proclamations.’’
To comply with the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation and “Safe Start Washington” plan, all city facilities will continue to be closed to the public until Washougal reaches Phase 3. The specific timing will depend upon how the “Safe Start Washington” plan unfolds, according to Scott.
“According to the plan, public facing government offices can reopen at Phase 3,’’ wrote the city manager. “Before city facilities reopen, we will ensure that appropriate social distancing and sanitation practices are implemented. Council meetings will remain on a virtual platform until we reach Phase 3 or 4.
Washougal residents can check out the city’s website for information on how to access the meetings at https://cityofwashougal.us and visit https://cityofwashougal.us/COVID19 for information about how to access city services.
“The City continues to closely monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and implement appropriate actions in response to this evolving situation,’’ Scott said. “We are following the lead and guidance of our governor and are working alongside Clark County Public Health and CRESA (Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency) and surrounding partner municipalities to implement coordinated response and communication. These closures and operational measures are consistent with actions being taken by other cities in Clark County. The situation will continue to evolve, and our response will continue to change accordingly.’’
Scott encouraged Washougal residents to continue to support local businesses “by accessing professional and other services as they are available, patronizing stores that are open, ordering to-go meals from our restaurants and making curb-side retail purchases from our stores that have been previously closed.’’
Area residents can find out who is open for business at cityofwashougal.us.
Parks and recreation
In accordance with Gov. Inslee’s easing of outdoor recreation restrictions announced April 27, the city of Washougal has begun implementing a phased approach to open some city parks and facilities.
The first step has been to open Lower Hathaway Park (799 25th Street) allowing citizens to recreate by the Washougal River. Sandy Swimming Hole Park, Steamboat Landing Dock, playgrounds, restrooms, sports courts/fields, and picnic shelters will remain closed until Phase Three of Gov. Inslee’s plan.
“If we are to stop this virus it is critical to continue to comply with social distancing,’’ stated a Thursday news release from the city. “During this time people may continue to exercise and spend time outdoors. When outdoors, everyone should practice social distancing and remain six feet or more away from anyone from not living within their household.’’
Parks maintenance crews will be working split shifts to meet public health recommendations for protecting citizens and employees. This means the city’s parks will be mowed less frequently and other routine tasks will be deferred. City officials hope to open City Hall in Phase Three. In the meantime, staff is working to implement social distancing regulations to help keep citizens and employees safe.
When outdoors, city officials ask area residents to remember these tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay close to home, except for essential trips.
- Recreate with immediate household members only. Recreating with those outside of your household creates new avenues for virus transmission.
- Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from anyone who is not part of your
- Wear a face covering or a mask when you cannot maintain 6 feet of physical
distance — but know that a mask is not a free pass to socialize with people
who are not household contacts.
Individuals should not call 9-1-1 to report others in noncompliance and should avoid confrontations over enforcement. To report non-compliance, call the city’s non-emergency number at (360) 835-7559.
The city will continue to monitor newly released information to determine additional modifications as needed.
Information provided by city of Washougal.