Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) and Reps. Steve Tharinger (Port Townsend) and Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) today asked Gov. Jay Inslee to extend the same pandemic reopening opportunities to Clallam County that Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties have received.

The three 24th Legislative District lawmakers sent a letter to Inslee voicing appreciation for his leadership in prioritizing public safety and in developing a 4-tier plan for reopening businesses in communities across the state. Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties have been authorized to implement Phase 2 of that plan.

The lawmakers’ letter points out that Clallam County has seen comparatively few transmissions of COVID-19 and that its small businesses “are much better prepared to implement safe social distancing than big box retailers.”

Two of the county’s larger businesses employ 300 and 200 workers, respectively, accounting for 500 family-wage jobs that the community call ill afford to lose, and are among area businesses that “are ready to implement aggressive safety and health practices but need permission to return to some scale of production in order to stay in business,” the letter notes.

Clallam County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state, and further job losses “would have devastating long-term consequences to our area,” the lawmakers wrote.