Inslee loosens re-opening restrictions; our region remains in Phase 1


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to discuss changes to the current plan that sees two Washington state regions enter Phase 2 of re-opening.

Instead of fulfilling all four of the necessary criteria, Inslee announced that just three of the requirements for entry into Phase 2 must be met. With that being the case, two regions enter Phase 2 on Monday: West and Puget Sound.

The South Central region remains in Phase 1 as of now. Counties in the South Central region are Benton and Franklin counties, Kittitas County, Yakima County, Walla Walla County and Columbia County.

Metrics being used to facilitate a move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 are as follows:

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Hitting three out of the four benchmarks will move a region into Phase 2.

While local metrics from the Benton-Franklin Health District will be solid tools in learning how your community is trending, the two counties are being lumped together with other counties. Therefore, it’ll be difficult to get an accurate reading of the statistical trends.

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However, Washington state Department of Health (DOH) officials are tracking statistics as they go.

Once the South Central region is allowed to move into Phase 2, many businesses will be able to resume operating at a limited capacity. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to re-open. The same applies to gyms and other indoor fitness complexes.

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Indoor entertainment can also reopen in Phase 2. Outdoor entertainment can resume in a limited capacity with a maximum of 200 people allowed while adhering to public health standards during Phase 2.

The South Central region still faces an uphill battle, but Phase 2 is now easier to achieve and closer than ever.

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