Local politicians react to Inslee, DOH keeping the region in Phase 1

Six counties in the region remain closed while the rest move into Phase 2 of re-opening.
Image Credit: The Office of Sen. Sharon Brown

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Local elected officials are not happy with Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to keep South Central Washington in Phase 1 of re-opening on Thursday afternoon.

In case you missed it, Gov. Inslee held a press conference on Thursday, February 11 at 2:30 p.m. updating the press on the state’s re-opening protocols. During the conference, he announced that seven of Washington’s eight regions would move toward Phase 2 of re-opening.

The South Central Region, which includes Kittitas, Benton, Franklin, Columbia, Walla Walla and Yakima Counties, did not meet the criteria to move up.

RELATED: South Central Washington held back as the state moves into Phase 2 of re-opening

Sen. Sharon Brown provided a statement on the Governor’s joint decision with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to keep South Central Washington closed.

“Across the Tri-Cities, and across this state, there are family-owned restaurants that have either shut their doors permanently or may soon have to close. There are gym owners and employees who are struggling with how to keep their businesses afloat or provide food for their children after months of being closed down by the governor’s proclamations,” Sen. Brown said. “If the governor means what he says about wanting to open up the rest of the state, he should immediately make more vaccines and additional resources available to our region.”

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Sen. Perry Dozier of Washington’s 16th Congressional District (Columbia County, Walla Walla County, Pasco and parts of Benton City) also made a statement about this decision.

“People throughout my district are frustrated and angry that these restrictions remain in place,” Dozier said. “These restrictions have driven many small businesses to the point that many are forced to decide whether they will close their doors for good. We’re going to take a close look at the metrics the governor is using to see if the disparate treatment for southeast Washington makes sense. In the Senate, we’ve been urging that the Legislature take charge, but we face resistance from a majority party that wishes to leave all decisions to the governor.”

Businesses are suffering, but Gov. Inslee remains firm in his belief about this re-opening system and doesn’t plan to make any changes to the process as of his press conference on Feb. 11.

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