I have three words to describe Yakima County: Modified Phase 1.5.

The Washington State Department of Health has given the go-ahead for residents in Yakima County to return to churches, pools, bars, wineries, and retail shopping-with certain limitations. Each of these modifications is approved to begin on Saturday, August 1st.

Churches: Worshippers have been waiting to hear the good news that they can safely return to services. As long as church programs are held outside and with social distancing logistics in place, members can attend. The only stipulation is that the outdoor gathering must be within an open-air tent, as KIMA reports.

Bars, Wineries, and Restaurants: If the eating or beverage establishment maintains proper social distancing within their outdoor environment, brew pubs, tasting rooms, wineries, and restaurants are allowed to be open for business. All patrons sitting together must be of the same household. If you are a single person, I guess this means that you can sit by yourself (within 6 feet of your friends who are like family)?

Pools: When I saw that pools were going to be reopened beginning August 1st, I was jumping for joy. Then I read the fine print: Regulated pools are only allowed to open for swim lessons and lap swimming. KIMA notes that water safety classes are included in this list. There is no opening for public swimming at this time. Bummer!

Now let's get to the shopping! Weeks ago when I had first received my stimulus check money, I was dying to go purchase a new bed for my 9-year-old daughter, Willow. I also am in need of a new sofa because one of the legs on mine is broken. I was devastated to learn that furniture stores were not included in the "essential business" category. I have since spent up all that stimulus money! (Doh!) Retail stores can reopen in Yakima County as long as they maintain a quarter of their previous store capacity and shoppers are only allowed to remain in the store for no more than half an hour, tops.

I guess this is good news for some of us living in Yakima County. I do not attend a "church", nor do I wish to hang out at any wineries or tasting rooms at this time, and I dang sure am not a lap swimmer. I have become accustomed to doing most of my shopping online, so until we get to Phase 2, I suppose I will be staying at home in front of the boob tube!

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