Washington moves to Phase 3 on Monday


KENNEWICK, Wash. — Washington is moving to Phase 3 of reopening on Monday.

Restaurants, gyms, salons and other retail and recreational spaces will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, and sports venues can reopen at 25% capacity.

For youth sports, the maximum capacity of spectators was 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.

Additionally, the number of people partaking in indoor/outdoor activities will be increased to 400, so long as they’re making an attempt to physically distance and wear masks.

Face masks and social distancing are still required in Phase 3 of the ‘Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery‘ re-opening process.

For more than a year, businesses have been holding their breath, waiting for this day.

As the state transitions into Phase 3, the way that coronavirus metrics are evaluated and implemented will change as well. Limitations and restrictions will be evaluated on a county-by-county basis instead of a regional basis.

Individual counties will be monitored and required to reach criteria such as the two-week number of COVID cases per 100,000 population and weekly COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 population.

For the South Central region, 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 — something Franklin County is fighting, as it is on the cusp.

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 will have to start anew.