Aberdeen — Pacific County beach approaches opened Monday, and clam digging will reopen June 1, with the potential for other digs starting as early as Thursday if approved by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to a statement issued by Pacific County Emergency Operations Center public information officer Pat Matlock.
As of Tuesday morning Fish and Wildlife has not announced any Pacific County razor clam openers and all razor clam digs in the state remained closed until further notice. According to Matlock’s statement, along with the June 1 opener, additional dates may be scheduled for May 26 and May 28, again pending approval from the state.
Pacific County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager issued the amendment to previous health orders to public health officers announcing the beach and razor clam openings, and also to lodging, which will open in phases starting June 1.
Beach approaches opened seven days a week Monday, “with the exception of the July 4 weekend, which is still under consideration,” said Matlock. “The county may adjust time frames within each phase as needed based on local health care capacity, the ability to effectively respond to any surges in cases, and/or if data shows an increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.”
Matlock offered the following summary of the order and re-opening plan:
Beach approaches will be open seven days a week starting May 18 with the exception of July 4 weekend. Specific plans regarding beach approaches on July 4 weekend will be released soon.
Clam digging will be open three days in May (21, 26, and 28) and then will be permanently open beginning June 1. State Fish and Wildlife will still be responsible for actual clam digging dates and they or the state may still have restrictions on digging. The amended health officer order simply lifts any additional county level restrictions on clam digging; final approval of each individual dig is on the state.
Hospitality lodging will be allowed to begin a phased re-opening approach beginning June 1. This date coincides with the date that the state should be entering phase two of the state re-entry plan, where the ban on non-essential travel also starts to lift. If Pacific County becomes eligible, and then is successful in applying for a variance to move ahead of the state phase timeline — essentially move to phase two early — then the dates of the local phased re-entry plan would likely be adjusted to match.
The county’s phased plan is split into four phases. Motels and hotels, vacation rentals and RV parks and campsites will remain closed through May 31 under the plan. From June 1-21, hospitality lodging under 20 units can operate at 50% capacity. Lodging over 20 units can operate at 25% capacity. Vacation rentals will require a minimum of 72 hours between check-out and check-in. Full hookup RV and camp sites can operate at a maximum of 50% capacity occupancy for self-contained RVs and 25% maximum capacity for for tent and dry camp sites. All must adhere to safety plans included in the order.
Under the plan, all motels and hotels would be able to operate at maximum 50% capacity June 22-July 12, when they would move up to 75% capacity, again if they implement all of the safety plan requirements outlined in the order. The rules remain the same for vacation rentals, minimum three days between check-out and check-in. All RV parks and camp sites could operate at 50% capacity June 22-July 12, then 75% capacity starting July 13.
The rules for the period starting July 13 would remain in effect to a date to be determined later, according to the order.
“The phased approach to reopening is designed to limit the total number of individuals visiting the area all at once in order to limit disease spread in Pacific County,” said Matlock. The reopening plan and attachments — including the comprehensive list of requirements for hospitality lodging — can be viewed at www.pacificcountycovid19.com.