• COVID-19 Update: Mask Requirement and Reopening Status

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    Rules and regulations around COVID-19 change frequently. The Chamber maintains a COVID-19 resource page to help keep you informed. Please continue to check www.wenatchee.org/covid19update.
    In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a large shift around masking. First the statewide mandate for all employers to mandate employees wear masks at work, then that was expanded to all residents who are in public areas and patronizing businesses, and now businesses are required to enforce masking in their establishments. Since this has moved quickly and is still very new for most of us, we wanted to spend a moment talking about enforcing masks inside your business, as we understand this can be a source of anxiety for employees. For extensive information on masking please visit the Washington State Coronavirus Webpage.
    There are a few simple things to remember:
    • Masks must always be worn inside a business by both employees and patrons, unless they are seated at a table eating / drinking.
    • If a customer / guest says they cannot wear mask due to health conditions, your employee should not push back or be confrontational.
    • The Chamber has disposable masks for businesses if you need masks on hand for guests who come into your business without a mask. Email sandy@wenatchee.org if you need one.
    Let masks be a customer service interaction versus a confrontational situation. Here is a suggested script you’re welcome to use for coaching your employees:
    Best case scenario:
    Employee: “Welcome to the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I hope you’re having a good day! I notice you are not wearing a mask; we have disposable ones for our guests to wear while at the Chamber and you can keep it for future use.” (Hand guest a mask / gesture to masks)
    Customer: “Oh thank you! I forgot mine at home!”
    Medical necessity scenario:
    Employee: “Welcome to the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I hope you’re having a good day! I notice you are not wearing a mask; we have disposable ones for our guests to wear while at the Chamber and you can keep it for future use.” (Hand guest a mask / gesture to masks)
    Customer: “I am sorry, I cannot wear a mask due to health concerns.”
    Employee: “I understand, let me know if I can help you find what you’re looking for so you can be in and out faster to limit your exposure to others.”
    ***Due to health privacy laws your employee cannot ask for a doctor’s note or any other proof. If the customer says they “Cannot” wear a mask, coach the employee to not go further in the conversation.
    Confrontational scenario:
    Employee: “Welcome to the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, I hope you’re having a good day! I notice you are not wearing a mask; we have disposable ones for our guests to wear while at the Chamber and you can keep it for future use.” (Hand guest a mask / gesture to masks)
    Customer: “No. I refuse to wear a mask; I will not wear that.”
    Employee: “I am sorry you feel that way, unfortunately it is required by Washington State Law at this time that I cannot complete a transaction with someone not wearing a mask. We would really appreciate your support and your business if you don’t mind putting this mask on. If not, unfortunately we have to ask you to leave.”
    If you have any questions around masks, please call the Chamber at 509-662-2116
     
    Where are we at in the phased reopening process?
    Chelan and Douglas Counties remain in a modified phase 1 status. While we are not quite at phase 2, we are very close to it and have some areas, such as retail, that are beyond phase 2. To understand what is open in this modified state, please review our approval for modified phase 1.
    The Governor announced on Thursday 7.3.20 that no counties in the state can advance in the phase process for two weeks, due to spikes in cases. At the same time, the Chelan Douglas Board of Health decided not to apply for phase 2 or phase 2 + at this time, however, are ready to apply as soon as our cases go down to a more manageable level. To stay up to date with local cases, please bookmark the Chelan Douglas Health District website for continuously updated numbers. The Chamber communicated the below update on Thursday 7.3.20 at end of day, if you missed it please see below for details on how the Board of Health came to this decision:
    The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce (WVCC) asked the Board of Health to be the convener of the reopening work group to prepare the application for continuing to open our community. The WVCC Board recognized that a change of leadership within the health district could slow the process of reopening and that we were uniquely positioned to unite our community around a common goal.
    Regrettably, the recent trend of COVID-19 cases in our region, and around the state, are moving in the wrong direction. At the Chelan Douglas Health District (CDHD) Board meeting it was decided to delay submitting the next phase application until the numbers reach 75 cases per 100,000 people and is trending downward.  Our current caseload is 126 cases per 100,000 people and trending up. We have 152 new cases in the last 14 days (6/18 – 7/1). When we applied to move to a phase 1.5+ our caseload was 94 cases per 100,000 and trending down and the new cases in the 14-day period prior to applying was 115.
    The working group is made up of 19 leaders from a cross section of our community including local elected officials and law enforcement, healthcare professionals, leaders in the Latinx community, the agricultural industry, the PUD, the Chamber. They provided a summary and recommendations for next steps to the CDHD Board today. You can find this document here. This working group is going to continue to meet to ensure an application is ready to be submitted to the State within 24 hours of our numbers trending down towards a more manageable rate.
    At today’s Board of Health meeting, Shiloh Burgess Executive Director of the WVCC, made the following statement:
    “The mission of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is to champion our community’s quality of life and economic vitality through collaborative leadership and sound business advocacy. Never has this been more challenging or more important in our community’s history.
    The well-being of our community and the economic vitality of our region is intrinsically connected. We must be vigilant in our response to COVID-19 as our collective problem; and we must own our responsibility in being the solution that will suppress the disease and re-open our economy.
    We recognize that COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact segments of our community, and at the same time it is also disproportionately impacting the economic viability of certain industry sectors in our region.
    The focus of the work group has been absolutely amazing to us. The collaboration that has occurred looking at the situation from all angles have been both inspiring and provides hope. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the CDHD Board of Health, the County Health Officer, our medical community, our Latinx leaders and we ask that we have the opportunity to continue to work towards unifying our community around this common goal of reducing our rate of infection, or cases, that are prevalent in our community, protecting the medically vulnerable and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and safely re-open our local businesses.
    The Chamber supports the recommendations that are before you, and we ask that you work with us to create a process that recognizes that all businesses are essential and should be able to operate with a COVID-19 safety plan. We believe that we can get the rate of infection back to a manageable place by wearing masks. We are very grateful to our employers, employees and patrons that are participating in this effort. We agree that it can seem like an inconvenience, especially moving into this Fourth of July Holiday, to refrain from gathering in large groups but we must be vigilant in practicing our physical distancing."
    Our community has shown that by working together, we can safely reopen our economy. We need your help keeping the economy open and our hospitals COVID free by wearing a mask, refraining from large gatherings, and keeping 6 feet distance. With the cooperation of our entire community, we are confident we will be prepared to take the next step when our community efforts and data supports this movement forward. 
     
     
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