San Juan County Health Officer extends ban on transient lodging

Submitted by San Juan County

On May 22nd, San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James extended his order limiting non-essential transient lodging operations. The order was previously set to expire on May 31st.

In his extension (Order 2020-5), Dr. James ties the future ending of the order to the lifting of Governor’s Inslee’s ban on non-essential travel, currently scheduled to happen when San Juan County moves to Phase 3 of the Governor’s four-phased reopening plan.

According to Dr. James, “This makes more sense than setting an arbitrary future date that may need to be modified down the road. Until non-essential travel is allowed in San Juan County by the Governor, it doesn’t make sense to allow non-essential lodging.”

In addition to the limits on lodging, the order also continues to limit playground access, transient moorage, and camping in the County, although the order has been revised to prohibit camping on only the four major ferry-served islands. Requirements that signage be posted on ferries and ferry terminals, ports, marinas, and marine transport vessels remain in place.

Dr. James explains further, “I realize the incredible strain that these state and local limits are placing on our lodging operators and all other visitor supported businesses, and I wish that there was a way to give a definitive date for reopening. Unfortunately, this is a fluid situation and we are timing our actions to be in lockstep with the Governor’s decision to move to Phase 3. As indicated in the order, the current expectation is that Phase 3 will likely occur no earlier than mid- to late June unless the Governor’s phased approach is altered due to changes in circumstances or local waivers applied at the state level.”

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