Washington counties phase 2

Asotin County has become the 10th Washington state county to be approved for early entry into the second phase of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan.

Monday, Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved Asotin County's variance application to move into Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's Safe Start plan.

A total of 10 counties have been granted phase 2 entry, with Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Whitman counties approved for variances last week. Kittitas is still under review.

Businesses in these counties must follow health guidance for their industries prior to reopening under phase 2.

Counties applying for variance must have a population less than 75,000 with no new COVID-19 cases in the previous three weeks.

The state continues considering additional options to support different regional needs in reopening.

Spokane County's request for variance was recently denied. Spokane leaders are awaiting criteria from Gov. Jay Inslee's office for larger counties seeking variances.