GSI claims Inslee, Wiesman wavered on Spokane County’s request to advance to phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — Greater Spokane Inc. and Visit Spokane said Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman wavered on Spokane County’s request to advance to phase 2 of the Safe Start plan.

The two local organizations made the claim in an email, in which they asked partners to reach out to the governor to show their support of moving to the next phase.

“Visit Spokane learned last evening via Greater Spokane, Inc that the Governor and Secretary of Health are wavering on Spokane County’s variance request to move into Phase Two of the Safe Start plan,” the email said. “GSI has written a letter that focuses on our county’s commitment to preparedness and safety and the urgency to re-open Phase 2 of our economy.”

Just hours after the email blast, local leaders announced that Spokane County was approved to advance to phase 2 after meeting the state’s requirements.

READ: Spokane County approved to advance to phase 2 of reopening plan

Earlier this week, Inslee said larger counties could apply for variance if they have fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span.

RELATED: SRHD: Spokane County’s double-digit rise in cases Thursday linked to ‘contained outbreak’

Spokane County’s population sits just above 520,000 people, meaning the county could meet those requirements if there were fewer than 52 new cases. The county met those guidelines, but did see a double-digit rise in cases on Thursday.

County health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said there was some “wiggle room” regarding the state’s guidance and the Spokane County Health District said the rise in cases was a “contained outbreak.”

In the email from Visit Spokane was a link allowing the public to sign their name to show their support, but GSI rescinded their mobilization by Friday morning.

In an email to 4 News Now, City Council President Breean Beggs said, “It may be true that GSI sent out that email, but the contention that the State is wavering on granting the variance is I believe 100% false.”

Visit Spokane offered the following statement when asked about the email:

“Visit Spokane works closely with Greater Spokane, Inc. supporting Spokane County businesses. Late last night, when we were asked to send a call to action to our partners, we felt the need to lend support. The email was sent with the best interest of Spokane in mind.

Visit Spokane is relieved to see Spokane County’s hospitality industry getting a green light to move into Phase 2. We’re looking forward to safely reopening in increments and getting back to business.”

GSI said the focus was on the activation of the business community, Phase 2 variance approval and how the community needs to work together to ensure it stays there.

READ: State health officials: Spokane does not have to restart application to move to phase 2

RELATED: Spokane County can now apply for early advancement to phase 2 of reopening plan