ASOTIN — Asotin County moved into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan Monday, and county officials are encouraging residents to continue following the rules so Phase 2 remains a thing of the past.
At this week’s commission meeting, Commissioner Brian Shinn said it’s important to keep wearing masks in public and following social distancing protocols to stay on the path to recovery.
“We want to make sure we don’t go back to Phase 2,” Shinn said. “We’re just asking people to be cautious so our local businesses and restaurants can keep increasing capacity.”
As of Monday, all 39 counties in the state reached Phase 3, which doubles capacity to 50 percent for indoor activities, restaurants, gyms and theaters. Alcohol service can now continue until midnight, up from the previous last-call deadline of 11 p.m.
Asotin County Public Health Administrator Brady Woodbury said the county must have less than 100 new COVID-19 cases in 14 days and less than three new COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven days to remain in Phase 3. The state will review the numbers again April 12.
The pandemic is also affecting plans for the Asotin County Fair in late April, Commissioner Chris Seubert said. County officials have asked state public health officials for guidance as the fair board works out attendance numbers, vendors and events. The professional Hells Canyon Rodeo has been cut from the usual list of activities, but the local rodeo featuring area kids is still a go, along with the Cowboy Breakfast.
The state has indicated it wants to use the Asotin County Fair as a template because it’s the first fair of the season. However, Seubert said every fair is unique, so that may be a difficult task.
“Just give us guidance, and we’ll follow it,” Seubert said of the state Department of Health.
As for the carnival, Seubert said the city of Asotin will make that call and handle any necessary permits. The carnival is held at Chief Looking Glass Park near the football field, which is in the city limits.
The fair board will meet again Wednesday. Discussions about the parade are still ongoing, and more information will be available after that meeting, Seubert said.
The commissioners are conducting a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 14 at the Asotin County Fire District. The plan is to address questions about the new Asotin County Jail and outline the progress of the $13.7 million project.
The county has been moving forward with building the jail near 14th and Fair streets in Clarkston. A purchase agreement with the landowner was extended to Aug. 15 to allow time for the city’s planning and zoning commission and city council to review zoning issues.
The fire district’s event center has enough room for 100 people to properly social distance at the town hall meeting, and masks will be required. The public will be allowed to ask questions, officials said.
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