Whew. Yay. Ah. We’re not done yet, and eventually we’ll get back to talking about something else, but as of today (June 18, 2020), Island County (and hence Whidbey Island) has reached Phase Three of the four phases necessary in our Reopening Plan. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has been dutiful and responsible about protecting the community. Here are some details about what we can do now, and have to be patient about.
First, the best news is that Phase Three happens because there are so few cases of people infected by the virus. Good health is always worth celebrating.
As usual, the list of dos and don’ts is long. The good news is that the list of things to do is even longer than before.
- Recreation! Go have fun outside in groups of fewer than 50 people. That’s a long list of possibilities.
- Travel: We can resume non-essential travel. So, Sunday drives are back again. So is just getting out of the house for the sake of getting out of the house. Go see the flowers.
- Businesses: They can open, but with restrictions. Check before you head out for dinner or drinks because each business will implement their instructions differently.
- Libraries and Museums: Geek out!
- Parks and Camping: Open – well, mostly! Hey, mostly is better than none. Check the state and the county lists. Don’t be surprised if they run out of space for campers and cars.
- Parades and Fairs: Maybe the Phase Three news is too new, or comes too late, but many of the Fourth of July events were cancelled a while ago. That includes…
- Fireworks: Fireworks deserve their own category. The public ones may still be cancelled, just like the parades and fairs; but the island has a long history of private and frequently illegal fireworks “displays”. With public fireworks cancelled in cities, some city dwellers may come to the island to set off their own. Prepare to protect your pets – and those who have PTSD.
- More? Sure. When in doubt, check the county and state web sites for details because the situation continues to be dynamic.
The cautions persist, and must be mentioned. This is Phase Three of four. We’re not done yet. While the island has been relatively cleared, the county is surrounded by other counties that are in earlier phases. As a guideline, rule, suggestion, but nothing official, when someone from one phase meets someone from another phase, the more restrictive phase’s restrictions should be observed. The virus doesn’t spread itself; we spread it. Considering Whidbey Island’s tourist nature, islanders can expect to meet people from places still in previous phases. That’s probably why some places like downtown Langley maintain a stricter stance on using masks and such.
We’re making progress. The pandemic isn’t over, but we can begin to (but not completely) relax and enjoy, just in time for summer. Yes! Yes! Yes!