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It seems like the world has been on its top ever since the COVID-19 pandemic swept through, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead. Lockdowns and quarantines have become the norm and states across the country have been reeling ever since.

There is a new playbook, and in its diligence to abiding by Gov. Jay Inslee’s guidelines, Kittitas County has moved into Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan. Washington state is not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, but Phase 3 does allow for larger gatherings along with theaters, bars and restaurants opening their doors at limited capacity.

With that in mind, the Kittitas Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the city of Cle Elum, city of Kittitas, city Roslyn, town of South Cle Elum, and the Kittitas County Health Department, came up with a playbook of its own for reopening large community events in the age of the COVID-19.

“The playbook opens the thought process to what needs to be done if they are going to have a gathering,” Kittitas Chamber of Commerce CEO Amy McGuffin said. “It’s going to be a lot of work when events open. Even if they have an event of 50 people, they should take some of the recommendations in mind.

“It’s definitely a sliding scale between events. Obviously the bigger the event, the more of crucial elements of the playbook need to be in place.”

The playbook is a set of guidelines moving forward under Phase 3 to keep the community safe in the process.

In the message from the leadership, McGuffin said, “As we move forward, we know you are anxious to reopen your doors. To ensure the safety of our community and to help you navigate the new normal, we have created the Play Hard. Play Smart. Play Safe. Playbook.

“This comprehensive guide includes many of the recommendations that have been reviewed by Dr. Mark Larson and the Emergency Operation Center. This resource will act as a living document, which we will update as this fluid situation changes. Though we know we wish to return to our regular lives, we must take necessary precautions during this time.

“The last thing we want is for the virus to grow during this phase. This playbook is a guideline to help you safely serve your visitors and accommodate your attendees. If you have any questions, please contact the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. We are here to help you.”

The Playbook addresses issues like volunteer’s safety, such as not utilizing the services of volunteers in the high-risk category and that all volunteers should wear PPE masks. Sensible social distance is the new normal and maintaining six feet or more should continue.

The Playbook also recommends limiting events to three to four hours at most and to consider controlling numbers of guests — mark high traffic areas such as ticket lines, vendors and use pedestrian roundabouts in high density areas.

“Some of the events might have to look at it like it just might not be feasible at this time,” McGuffin said.

Events like Jazz in the Valley and the Learn from the Masters Music Outreach have cancelled 2020 scheduled events, as has the Summer Concert Series at Cornerstone Pie.

The Daily Record Bares and Broncs event was postponed for the second time, and the Ellensburg Rodeo Labor Day weekend is still on for the time being.

“We don’t want organizers standing there with a counter and cutting off attendance at a specific number,” McGuffin said. “What we’re recommending with the playbook is the social distancing, cleansing before and after and maintaining of people.

“But I would say the first couple of pages of reference are important no matter what. We just need to have that good feeling of moving forward with the safety of the people attending and the safety of the people running the event. If you can’t, then you might have to make a difficult decision.”

Phase 3 allows restaurants and taverns to operate at 75 percent with no more than 10 people at a table. It also allows bar areas in restaurants to operate at 25 percent and theaters at 50 percent. Events are required to function with no more than 50 people.

To access the chamber of commerce playbook, visit https://growthzonesitesprod.azureedge.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/879/2020/05/5.28.2020-Guide-to-Reopening-Events.pptx.pdf.

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