Kittitas County, WA – 04/21/2020 – Kittitas County is legally bound to follow the Governor’s orders to Stay Home, Stay Healthy until May 4, 2020. Counties must follow state direction. The county level may choose to be stricter, but cannot choose to enforce anything less than what the state requires. With that, local elected officials whether at the county or city levels do not have statutory authority to change anything within Kittitas County, under the Governor’s direction.

Within the next two weeks of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, the goal is to prepare for reopening elements within our county in the safest way possible.  The Kittitas County Incident Management Team (IMT) is working hard to ensure testing capacity and case investigation capacity is adequate.  The IMT is asking that every business in the county start working towards safety plans to ensure safety for customers and employees as our county continues to work towards reopening our local economy.

“Other counties have chosen to not follow the Governor’s orders,” states Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson.  “In addition to violating state law, those choices put those counties, and the people living within them, at a significant risk.  The liability the county takes on will directly affect its constituents; specifically, who will be at fault when someone contracts COVID-19 in a situation that directly ignores the Governor’s orders?”

The Economic Recovery Group, which is part of the IMT at this time, is working with multiple partners to ensure businesses have access to the most assistance.  They will have a weekly phone call where you can access information from the Health Officer, Emergency Operation Center, along with local business leaders and funding availability.  To call in, contact 978-990-5249 with access code 8047790 as the access code today at noon.  No registration necessary.

For more information regarding COVID-19, please visit or Facebook and you may also call the Emergency Operation Center at 509-933-8315 or 509-933-8305.

Kittitas County Continues to Explore Issues with Legality of Economic Concerns

Kittitas County, WA – 04/21/2020 – On April 21, the Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners, County Prosecutor, and the Health Officer, met and discussed available avenues to pursue opening local economy. At this time, the Governor’s Orders are legally binding and local officials are required by law to follow the Governor’s Orders to Stay Home, Stay Healthy until May 4, 2020.
During today’s meeting, the County Prosecutor clarified that other counties in Washington State have received warning letters from the Governor in regards to their allowance of residential construction.  Those counties received a formal letter on Friday from the Governor that clearly stated they need to rescind their allowance of activities that are contrary to the State Order.  Counties that are not abiding by state law will receive a warning, then ticketing, and ultimately misdemeanant prosecution.

States may be stricter than federal orders.  Counties may be stricter than state orders.  Although they can be stricter, it is not legal to be less strict.  If Kittitas County were to proceed in breaking the State Order, which is considered breaking the law, local citizens are not protected legally.  Kittitas County Commissioners have no defensible authority to repeal any part of what the state is requiring.

Essential activities deemed appropriate by the Governor, specifically to construction, have been a significant issue in our county.  The Governor’s Order allows for essential construction, which is the legally binding order.  Essential construction is allowed if there is an unsafe condition, damage from an emergency, or spoilage to construction in progress.  Based on the Governor’s warnings to other counties, the state has made it clear that construction activities in Chelan and Douglas counties are considered illegal.

Kittitas County will continue to bring forward these issues.  Discussion ensued around data for COVID-19 and whether the epidemiological curve data takes into account social distancing.  Dr. Mark Larson, Health Officer, explained that the data from the University of Washington includes social distancing, which is why that data is changing constantly.  There were continued questions and concerns regarding the confusing nature of the state orders.  The recourse for Kittitas County leadership is to continue to work together and directly address inconsistencies in the Governor’s orders.

Citizens’ concerns with the Governor’s orders would be appropriately directed to Governor Jay Inslee’s office at this time If you have concerns about the health, please contact your healthcare provider or you can call the Temporary COVID Clinic at KVH at 509-933-8850.  For general questions about COVID-19, please call the Emergency Operation Center at 509-933-8315 or 509-933-8305.  Please watch the county website along with their social media for more information today or Facebook.