Olympia, WA — Clark County is moving to Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide reopening plan, along with four other regions.
“This will mean increased economic activity. We are very happy about it,” Inslee said. “Ninety-two percent of the state of Washington is now in Phase 2 or higher.”
Inslee said this will be effective starting Monday, but may open earlier for Valentine’s Day and current weather conditions. The only region in the state that isn’t in Phase 2 is the South Central region, including the Walla Walla, Tri-Cities and Yakima areas.
Inslee said he doesn’t have a date for when Phase 3 guidelines/restrictions will be released. He said the state has been focused on getting to Phase 2.
He said “this is now both a time for celebration for the state, but also a time for increased diligence due to new variants of COVID-19.”
In Phase 2, restaurants may open indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Indoor gatherings are also allowed, with a maximum of five people from outside a household per gathering, but limited to no more than two households. Outdoor gatherings allow 15 people present from outside a single household.
Movie theaters, concert venues, and museums can now operate at 25 percent capacity, and are subject to eating and drinking requirements.
Zoos, rodeos and concert venues can now host groups of 15 and up to 200 people at a time.
Indoor weddings and funerals are now allowed, and must follow gathering requirements. Dancing is still prohibited.
Low and moderate risk sports may resume indoors, and fitness centers may now operate at 25 percent capacity. Low, moderate and high-risk sports are all allowed outdoors with a 200-person limit, including spectators. The WIAA will provide specifics on this.
The decision to reopen most of the state despite risk of having to move back, Inslee said, was based on science and the fact that businesses have had to close for months. He added that if the numbers go back up, the state can go back in phases.
Regions could be moved back if metrics start going in the wrong direction. Under the state guidelines, in two week the regions must still meet three of four requirements. If the region meets two or fewer, they would return to Phase 1 the following Monday.
Washington is nearing 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, according to the Department of Health.
Inslee said getting close to 1 million doses is an achievement, but he also acknowledged that people are frustrated by the wait for their doses.
Inslee says they are making rapid progress in vaccination push and that “help is on the way” for those who haven’t had their shots yet. He emphasized there is equity in vaccine distribution among communities of color, and said that this helped determine where the mass vaccination sites were located.