VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in Washington state, there’s growing concern that some counties may have to roll back their phased reopenings. With 40 new cases and one death reported Monday, Clark County health officials are closely monitoring the rising spread.
Small businesses like Joe Brown’s Cafe in downtown Vancouver are already struggling to survive the Phase 2 reopening, which limits the small eateruy to just a few booths. When the pandemic forced them to close in March, it was the first shutdown since the restaurant opened its doors in 1932.
“If we have to go back to deliveries, we’re going to have to let the wait staff go, and that’s hard,” said Karen Carlton with the cafe. “Really hard.”
Just down the street, a small jewelry store is finally back open after a difficult Phase 1 shutdown. Jeff Kuehl worked at My Jeweler for 32 years and just bought it in January. Talk of a rollback is a huge concern.
“We were fortunate to make it throught the first shutdown,” Kuehl said. “A second one would break us, I assume. I don’t think you can survive 2 of those.”
Rolling back businesses to Phase 1 is something state lawmakers and health officials said they are working to avoid. But if hospitals get overwhelmed with sick patients — like they are currently in many southern states — a rollback is one of the leading options on the table.
At a July 14 press conference, Gov. Jay Inslee said, “There is a significant chance we would have to take some of these measures.”
He continued to urge Washingtonians to wear masks and social distance.
“I am simultaneously hopeful that we’re going to see an increase in social distancing and mask wearing and recognition that may not be enough, given the numbers we are seeing,” he said. “We are going to control our own destiny in the state of Washington.”