Many businesses in King County could reopen at a reduced capacity as early as June 5 if the state approves an application to do so.
County staff is planning on submitting an application to move to a modified Phase 1 category under Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the economy. Under the proposal, a number of business categories would be allowed to open their doors again. Rachel Smith, deputy executive director for county executive Dow Constantine, said on June 2 that the application could be approved by June 5.
The county is monitoring a number of metrics around the COVID-19 pandemic which factored into its decision to apply for the modified Phase 1 classification instead of Phase 2. The county is meeting its metrics for hospital readiness and infection rates. But the county’s health officer wants more testing capacity before applying for Phase 2, which would allow more businesses to open at greater capacity.
If the metrics hold steady or decrease, the county could apply to enter a full Phase 2 within two weeks.
“We look at them and while the trend is going in the right direction, we wonder are they holding in place,” Smith said.
At the same meeting, budget director Dwight Dively said recently received economic forecasts are grim for the county. Sales tax forecasts came in lower than expected. Any economic recovery will likely be a slower one than expected.
Sales tax revenue is projected to be down in this year and next, but also through 2022. Lodging tax is also expected to decline through 2021 by about $13 million more than planned. Dively said it’s projected that the county won’t reach 2019 levels of lodging tax revenue for the next five years.
Nationally forecasters are expecting that the national GDP will decline between 30 to 40 percent, Dively said. The effects could be felt for the next decade.