Washington Governor Unveils New Business Reopening Plan, Moving To More Regional Approach
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a new COVID-19 reopening plan. It will be based on regions of the state, not counties. The new two-phase plan calls for resuming indoor restaurant dining and indoor fitness at 25% capacity. But not yet.
Inslee said no region of the state is ready to advance to this new Phase 2. In order to do so, a region will have to show a decrease in COVID case rates, hospital admissions and ICU occupancy.
Regions will also have to have a COVID positivity rate of less than 10%. Inslee says he’s concerned about a “mutant” variant of COVID that is spreading from the UK. In prepared remarks he said: “We aren’t out of this yet, but we are close to turning the corner.”
“Because health care systems are regional and we know that the virus does not respect county boundaries. This makes sense not only from a public health perspective, but from a health care delivery one as well,” Inslee said.
All counties will begin in Phase 1, and the reduction of COVID-19 metrics will determine when it advances into Phase 2. In Phase 2, restaurants could reopen at 25% capacity and sports events with limited capacity would be allowed as well.
The state Department of Health will evaluate data for each region on Fridays, with the potential for a region to advance in phase the following Monday.
Each region effectively begins in Phase 1 immediately. A region could move to Phase 2 beginning on Monday, Jan. 11, depending on the first review of metrics that takes place this Friday, Jan. 8.
Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins contributed. Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
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