Washington to move into Phase 3 of re-opening, increasing indoor capacity

OLYMPIA, Wash. — During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state is moving into Phase 3 of the ‘Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery‘ re-opening process. As part of this change, there will be a major shift in limitations on indoor and outdoor gatherings including dining, sporting events, concerts and business.

All Washington state counties are being moved into Phase 3 on Monday, March 22. They will be individually re-evaluated every three weeks based on the following criteria: New cases per 100,000 population per 14 days and new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 population per 7 days.

To watch the Governor’s press conference live beginning at 2:30 p.m. PST from Olympia, click the link below.

WATCH: Gov. Inslee speaks on one-year anniversary of the pandemic

https://twitter.com/DylanHCarter/status/1370141777626157058

RELATED: Washington Senate GOP’s Phase 3 re-opening plan slammed

Under Phase 3 of re-opening, Washington state will return to some sense of normalcy. Indoor dining and businesses can operate at 50% capacity as opposed to the 25% capacity they were held to in Phase 2. Additionally, the capacity of people partaking in indoor/outdoor activities is increased to 400, so long as they’re making an attempt to physically distance and wear masks.

Moving into the next phase also bodes well for Washington’s sports. For youth sports, the maximum capacity of spectators is being increased on March 18. For outdoor sporting events on a more professional level, spectators will be allowed in the stands at 25% capacity so long as they wear masks and distance from others.

This means that fans will be allowed in the building for the Seattle Mariners’ regular-season opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 1.

RELATED: Inslee announces new timeline for more people to get vaccinated

As the state transitions into Phase 3, the way that coronavirus metrics are evaluated and implemented will change as well. Now, limitations and restrictions will be evaluated on a county-by-county basis instead of a regional basis. For the South Central region, this means Kittitas, Columbia and Walla Walla counties can be evaluated separately from the more densely-populated counties.

The state’s first evaluation based on this criteria will take place on April 12. If any county fails to meet one of the required metrics, it will be moved down one Phase. If COVID-19 community spread ramps up and Washington’s ICU capacity surpasses 90%, then all counties will move back into Phase 1 of re-opening and they will have to start anew.

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