AWB Calls for Safe Restart of Manufacturing
State manufacturing association helped develop guidelines to allow for safe operations
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business is calling on Gov. Jay Inslee to allow all manufacturers to resume operations immediately provided they can meet the new health and safety guidelines approved this week by the governor’s office.
“We believe it’s time to restart Washington’s manufacturing economy, which is so important to the state’s economic health” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “As the state’s manufacturing association, we want to thank the governor for working with AWB in the development of the new guidelines for manufacturers. The health and safety of employees is paramount, and we believe these guidelines allow for the safe restart of manufacturing operations statewide, regardless of where they are located.”
Under the current rules, the state’s Phase 2 Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Requirements allow manufacturers deemed “non-essential” to resume operations only in counties that have received a variance to move to Phase 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan. Manufacturers in the rest of the state must remain closed until all of Washington state moves to Phase 2 of the plan.
“Manufacturers that were deemed essential never closed, and they have demonstrated that it’s possible to operate safely in this new environment,” Johnson said. “Now, with the potential for manufacturers deemed ‘non-essential’ to resume operations in select counties, it only makes sense to give all manufacturers the opportunity to reopen, provided they can comply with the guidelines.”
Manufacturing is an important part of Washington’s export-driven economy. In 2018, manufacturers in Washington accounted for 11.2% of the total output in the state and employed 8.45% of the workforce, according to data compiled by the National Association of Manufacturers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We are deeply concerned about the economic damage our state is suffering as a result of this pandemic,” Johnson added. “Every day matters. Waiting two or three more weeks — or possibly longer —to restart Washington’s manufacturing sector inflicts that much more damage and makes the task of eventually rebuilding from this crisis that much more difficult. Providing employees with a safe workplace and a paycheck helps to address the economic crisis and the public health emergency facing our state and nation. It’s time to expand Stay Home, Stay Healthy to Work Safely, Go Home and Stay Healthy.”