OLYMPIA – Seattle’s marine followers will have real-life opening day fans, restrictions will begin to eliminate other outdoor sporting events, 39 The 39 states of Washington will soon move into the new third phase of Governor Aysay’s Inslie COVID-19 reopening program.
Inslee’s announcement Thursday of changes to its Healthy Washington opening plan will allow restaurants, retailers, fitness centers and other indoor spaces to open up to 50% capacity. The changes, most of which start on March 22, will take effect throughout the state.
“The reason we have been able to make this progress today is that we have been safe, we have been diligent, we have been purposeful, we have taken care of our loved ones,” Insili told a news conference.
“But we have to understand, we are still in a struggle,” the governor continued. “We have those options there, this thing can come back to us.”
The announcement comes as coronavirus cases in Washington state are declining, and the COVID-19 vaccine continues to spread.
The increased distribution of vaccines has prompted Inslee to announce that the state is accelerating vaccine eligibility programs for people in stage 2B for a week. This group includes law enforcement officers, correctional staff, firefighters, as well as workers in the fields of public transport, grocery stores, agriculture, and food processing. They will have the right to be vaccinated from March 17.
As of Thursday, 18 percent of the state’s population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, said Lacey Ferenbach, assistant secretary of state for health. About 10% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated.
In a statement, a couple of Republican state senators praised Inslee’s move, pointing to a plan released last week that would immediately increase the occupancy of restaurants, gyms and other venues by 50%.
“I appreciate it so much that the governor included many details of our Open Safe, Open Now program to move to Phase 3, which he announced today,” said Sen. Ann Rivers, of the R-La Center. adding later: “I would like him to work more directly with us, because cooperation is how we will fully recover. But I am very encouraged. “
The new phase will allow outdoor events to have up to 25% capacity in permanent residences, masks և distances required. This will allow not only the Mariners’ games, but also the games of Sounders, Reign and other teams. It also includes high school sports, rodeo, motorsport, and other outdoor activities.
The new provisions for youth և high school sports will be launched earlier, on March 18.
The third phase will also increase employment by up to 50% in places such as restaurants and gyms for indoor areas. Under the new program, the alcohol service will be able to leave at midnight, one hour later than is currently allowed.
In the coming days, the regional administration will give clearer instructions on certain areas of industry.
The Healthy Washington Plan came into force in January և Washington divided it into eight districts.
Under the plan, some areas, including King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, went through a second phase in late January and reopened with 25% of indoor dining centers and fitness centers. Since then, other regions have progressed, with each county moving to that stage, with capacity constraints.
Groups like the Washington Hospitality Association have urged the governor to allow restaurants 50 percent capacity.
“We note the governor’s announcement today that restaurants can open 50% of internal capacity. This will benefit both the health of our state and our industry, “said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the association on Thursday. “As restaurants open in our state, business continues to decline. “This is a testament to our strict security standards and practices, which are one of the most stringent in the nation.”
The Inslee announcement also includes changes to the overall structure of the program.
Regions are a thing of the past և The new shift brings back restrictions on eliminating or reaffirming the county approach by county, where counties are assessed every three weeks. The first assessment is scheduled for April 12.
Larger regions should take a number of benchmarks for the two public health indicators that determine their progress. Thresholds are set for each of the three phases of the Resh program for both new cases within 100 days every 14 days and new COVID-19 hospitalizations within seven days.
For example, for a large county to remain in the third phase, it must have less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in two weeks. In the meantime, interest rates on more than 350 new cases will send it back to the first, most restrictive phase.
Counties with a population of 50,000 or less, such as San Juan, Pacific, or Okanoga counties, will be assessed for new COVID-19 cases within two weeks with new hospitalizations within seven days.
For example, a small circle will stay in the third round if it has less than 30 cases in two weeks. But with more than 60 new cases in the meantime, it will return to the first round.
If at any point in the state resuscitation department it reaches 90% or more, all counties will return to the first phase, which bans closed dinners and closures, among other things, gyms and entertainment events.
Breaking National food writer Tan Vinh contributed to this report,