(STAFF REPORT/Chewelah Independent)
Washington Governor Jay Inslee is apparently dropping the requirement for restaurant customers to provide their name and contact info during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Everett Herald is reporting.
“I think where we’ll end up is giving customers an option of leaving a phone number or not,” Gov. Jay Inslee said at an afternoon news conference.
He added that he would have more to say on Friday.
This comes after some outrage online that restaurants would be required to keep a log of those dining, so that contact tracing could be carried out from a positive COVID-19 case. The information would be used if a worker or customer tests positive, information in the log can be used to track down those who may have come into contact with the infected person. Inslee has emphasized the information would be kept private and restaurants could not use it for any private or commercial purpose.
Still however, some people scoffed at the perceived invasion of privacy and the thought of government tracking their movements. When the governor spoke about contact tracing earlier this week he mentioned positive case patients self-isolating themselves for two weeks along with their families. He also said that contact tracing teams had been set up to notify people that they had come in contact with the virus and should self-isolate.
So far, Washington has seen over 17,700 cases of COVID and 983 deaths.
Several restaurants in Stevens County have opened or are opening this weekend while following state guidelines. They will be required to run at 50 percent capacity, have limited table sizes and have stringent cleaning practices.
The tri-county area in NE Washington is in Phase 2 of the state’s re-opening plan. After a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order put in place on March 23, several restrictions have been lifted. Still much of the state still remains in Phase 1, including Spokane County.
Spokane County had asked the governor to let them move to Phase 2 but that request has been denied.
In the Tri-County area, there hasn’t been a COVID-19 case in over three weeks.