• Inslee announces seven counties moving to Phase 2, most of Washington still closed

    February 02, 2021
    Gov. Jay Inslee and state health officials are easing some requirements for Washington communities and businesses to move into the next phase of reopening. Under revised rules announced late last week, regions will only have to meet three out of four Covid-19 status metrics, rather than all four under the earlier Healthy Washington rules.

    The revision took effect today. It means that seven counties in two of the governor’s regions – Puget Sound and West – can move into Phase 2, which allows restaurants, indoor fitness centers and live entertainment venues – including museums, bowling alleys and concert halls – to reopen at 25% capacity.

    The regions that encompass the rest of the state, however, have not met at least three of the four metrics and will remain in Phase 1, prompting people from across the state and political spectrum to speak out in frustration.

    Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim; Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend; and Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, voiced strong disapproval of the action in a joint statement, saying: “We have lost faith that the governor is on a course to safely open Washington and beat Covid-19. He is reopening hot-spot counties based on poorly designed metrics that leave low-rate counties closed... it is clear that the governor’s plan exhibits a disastrous disconnect with the realities of our communities and, as their elected representatives, we must demand a reopening plan that is fair and sound. The current plan is neither.”

    In a news conference last week with other business groups, AWB President Kris Johnson called for more clarity from Inslee for the months ahead, beyond the current two-phase plan.

    “What is the road map? How many phases? When do we return to normal?” Johnson said. “Yes, we recognize vaccines play an important part in that, but what are the next steps?”

    Contact AWB Vice President, Government Affairs Gary Chandler, to learn more and get involved.