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July 27, 2020

Skagit County Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand extends guidance on large events through end of 2020.

Today, Skagit County Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand extended his guidance on cancelling large scale events through 2020 in light of continually rising COVID-19 cases. This extension was supported unanimously by the Skagit County Board of Health.

On May 6, 2020, Dr. Leibrand recommended cancelling or postponing large scale events including fairs, parades, festivals, overnight residential camps, fireworks displays and any other large group gatherings through the summer. He has now extended this recommendation through December 31, 2020.

Skagit County is currently in Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start—Reopening Washington Plan, and meets two of the five metrics needed to move forward to Phase 3. On July 16, Governor Inslee altered the Safe Start Plan in light of rising case counts throughout Washington State. Phase 3 allowable social gatherings were reduced from a maximum of 50 people to a maximum of 10 people from outside your immediate household per week.  Additionally, the Governor announced a prohibition on all live entertainment- indoors and outdoors- including drive-in concerts, comedy clubs and music in restaurants. Governor Inslee had also previously halted counties from moving forward to Phase 4.

“The extension of our large events guidance is very much in line with Governor Inslee’s alteration of Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan, and his ban on counties moving to Phase 4 for the foreseeable future,” said Skagit County Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson. “Large events, like festivals, holiday dinners or fundraisers are just not safe at this time. COVID-19 spreads quickly in large groups, and unless we get our transmission rates down considerably, we can’t take the risk associated with these events.”

“We had hoped that we would be in a better position than we are by the end of the summer- but that just isn’t the case,” said Dr. Leibrand. “People just don’t seem to get it. This guidance should set expectations for all Skagitonians about what living with COVID-19 is going to be like for the foreseeable future.”

In order to slow transmission of COVID-19, Skagtonians must follow Public Health and Washington State Department of Health guidelines. Do not gather with more than five people you don’t live with per week. Continue to practice physical distancing; staying six feet apart from anyone you come into contact with. Wear a mask at all times, even in private social situations. Stay home as much as possible and wash/sanitize your hands and frequently touched surfaces as often as possible.

The Skagit County Board of Health, Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson and Health Officer Dr. Leibrand meet regularly to discuss Skagit County’s COVID-19 response and status. Meeting schedules can be found online at: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/CountyCommissioners/main.htm under “Board of County Commissioners Agenda Calendar.”

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call Skagit County Public Health at 360-416-1500.