Archive for the ‘coronavirus updates’ Category

Welcome to Ferryageddon.

If you were thinking of sailing to Whidbey Island in July, maybe step back, take a deep breath (from underneath your mask) and just say no.

Otherwise, get ready for deep, deep frustration.

A day after revealing several workers have tested positive for COVID-19, Washington State Ferries officials announced a reduction in service on two of the busiest routes.

The changes will be in place every weekend in July.

The Mukilteo/Clinton route, which is the busiest in the system, and the Edmonds/Kingston route, will both run just one boat, and not the normal two, on weekends.

In a news blurb released Wednesday, it was stated the move was “due to a shortage of available crew during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The dates affected are:

July 4-5
July 11-12
July 18-19
July 25-26

On those weekends, only the #1 sailings on the schedule will be used.

Washington State Ferries officials ask those wishing to sail to “plan ahead by checking schedules online and expect long waits if driving onto a ferry over each weekend, particularly during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”

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The movies remain on pause. (Photo property Oak Harbor Cinemas)

My former home away from home will stay dark for a while longer.

With Island County now in Phase 3 of Washington state Governor Jay Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan, Oak Harbor Cinemas is allowed to reopen, under certain guidelines.

But, for now, the show won’t go on.

The three-screen institution, which sits across from Dairy Queen, has been closed since March as the country deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Oak Harbor Cinemas released the following statement on Facebook Tuesday afternoon:


We are still closed due to increase in cases for COVID-19.

We feel it is prudent to not open too early based on the recent new Governor’s proclamation regarding mandatory masks when in public when you are unable to maintain six feet of distancing.

In addition, there are no new movies scheduled until July 31st with the release of “Unhinged.”

“Tenet” has been moved to Aug. 12 and “Mulan” has been moved to Aug. 21.

All three films were originally scheduled to be released between July 1 and the 24th.

As the COVID-19 new cases start another decline, we hope that other film companies will move up the dates to July or early August, but until then we are at their mercy so to speak.

Rest assured that when we do open you will see improvements to 100% of the cinema including new luxury motorized recliners, new rockers, new screens, speakers, amplifiers, bathrooms, floors, paint and carpets.

Plus we still have our beer and wine bar open for business.

We ask that you be patient and when we do open up you will see a clean, safe theater again and that you support us like you did prior to COVID-19.

We will serve you to the absolute best of our ability.

Thank you,


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A Washington state ferry idles in the water during happier times. (Sarah Kirkconnell photo)

Multiple workers on the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry run have tested positive for COVID-19.

The route, which is the busiest in the state in vehicle traffic, has already been running with just one boat, and not the normal two, the past two weekends.

For a complete report, pop over to the Everett Herald:

COVID-19 outbreak strikes Mukilteo-Clinton ferry workers

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The return of Friday Night Lights could be a ways away. (Katy Wells photo)

Island County is in Phase 3 of Washington state’s four-phase COVID-19 reopening plan.

But it won’t be going to Phase 4 any time soon.

And, for that matter, neither will any other counties.

The Washington State Department of Health issued a press release Saturday announcing a “pause on counties moving to Phase 4.”

“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state,” Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in the press release.

“We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet.

“This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.”

State Secretary of Health John Weisman issued the following letter:


Dear Local and Tribal Health Leaders,

I am writing to let you know Governor Inslee and I have decided to pause progression to Phase 4 statewide. 

We decided to prohibit any counties from moving into phase 4 at this time due to increasing COVID-19 activity across the state and significant rebounds in COVID-19 activity in several other states.

The changes between Phase 3 and Phase 4, especially with regards to gathering size and occupancy rates, could further increase the spread of COVID-19 in our state, even in communities that have very low rates of disease.

The progress we’ve made thus far is at risk, therefore we are making the prudent choice to slow down our phased approach to reopening.

In the next couple of weeks, I will work with Governor Inslee and his team to assess the need for a modified approach for moving beyond Phase 3.

I will communicate that decision to you when we have more information.

Counties that are currently able to apply to move from Phase 1 or 2 are still able to apply when eligible.

Thank you for your continued work to protect the health of Washingtonians during this unprecedented time.


For those looking at this from a sports perspective, current Washington Interscholastic Activities Association guidelines state “low risk” sports, such as cross country and swimming, can begin competition in Phase 3.

“Moderate risk” sports, such as volleyball, basketball, and soccer, can begin games when a county is in Phase 4.

Three “high risk” sports — football, wrestling, and competitive cheer — have no current timeline for when games will be allowed to restart.

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If school sports return this fall, team water bottles will not. (David Stern photo)

No players sitting on benches.

No handshakes or fist bumps, before, during, or after games.

No endless soccer introductions with each player, starter or reserve, running out onto the field.

Some schools needing to use multiple buses to transport teams to games, with athletes and coaches spaced out between seats, wearing face masks, with bus windows open.

And that’s the positive version of where prep sports in Washington state could be this fall.

In the negative version, there simply are no games played whatsoever, a remix of what happened this spring as the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While Island County recently entered Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s four-part plan to reopen the state, Washington is one of 23 states currently experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases.

The hardest-hit area in our state is Yakima County, which is home to many prep sports state championship events.

As it looks ahead to late August/early September, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has stated it “intends to conduct all scheduled fall athletics/activities that are approved by the Department of Health.”

That includes operating at less than full capacity, if need be.

“Although not ideal, the WIAA intends to conduct a regular season and/or championships even if all schools are not able to participate,” the governing group said in an earlier release.

But then, we jump to today, and the WIAA issued its most-detailed guidelines yet for how state schools, public and private, should handle spring and summer practices, and competitions, if they return in the fall.

Included is the statement “when a school, schools, or district are closed due to COVID-19, all training, practice, and contests for the school(s) or district should also be canceled.”

These new guidelines cover a general approach, as well as offer specific advice for all but one of the fall sports normally played by Coupeville athletes.

Football, volleyball, cross country, soccer, and cheer are represented, but no individual guidelines were issued for tennis.

Also included are guidelines for swim/dive, dance/drill, and slowpitch softball, which some schools traditionally play in the fall.

CHS plays fastpitch softball, which operates in the spring.

Instead of writing 10,000 words about the guidelines, I’ll offer you links for ones which affect Coupeville, so you can pick and choose what you want to investigate.

As you do, keep in mind, everything is in flux, and no one knows where we will be in 2-3 months time.

That point is driven home by the WIAA not including the answer to one major question in Monday’s guidelines — when will “high risk” sports be allowed to play games?

“Lower risk” sports such as cross country can resume competitions in Phase 3, and “moderate risk” sports such as basketball and volleyball can play in Phase 4.

But “high risk” sports, those which “involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants,” have no start date yet for games.

That covers football, wrestling, and competitive cheer.

The website SB Live Washington quoted WIAA spokesperson Casey Johnson in its report.

“We’re still waiting for some more information,” Johnson said. “Right now, obviously no counties are in phase four. It’s one of those things specifically that we’re going to wait and see how things develop before addressing.”


Fall Guidelines Overview:

Click to access COVID19Guidance.pdf



Click to access Cheerleading.pdf


Cross Country:

Click to access CrossCountry.pdf



Click to access Football.pdf



Click to access Soccer.pdf



Click to access Volleyball.pdf

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