‘It is not a serious proposal’; Governor’s Office slams WA Senate GOP’s Phase 3 plan

Washington
Ted S. Warren

A couple walks through the snow, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Winter weather is expected throughout the Puget Sound region through the weekend.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Senate Republicans proposed a plan to reopen the state and move to Phase 3, but Gov. Inslee’s office slammed the proposal, calling it “political rhetoric with bullet points.”

All of Washington is currently in Phase 2 of the reopening plan after a painstaking pandemic year, but there are no immediate plans for Phase 3. Senate Republicans announced a proposal for moving forward, which immediately calls for:

  • Returning students K-12 to in-person classroom instruction
  • Reducing social distancing to three feet instead of six feet
  • Reopen businesses and venues to 50% capacity, with bars and restaurants closing at midnight
  • Reopen state parks and recreational agencies to 50% capacity
  • Reopen indoor weddings, religious services and professional services to 50% capacity
  • The proposal also includes a Phase 4, which would go into effect after three weeks of Phase 3 — it amounts to a full and complete reopening. In addition, counties would be moved to new phases automatically; if this were to pass, health districts would now have to prove why they cannot move forward into new phases.

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But the chance of this proposal gaining any ground looks vanishingly small.

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The Governor’s Office issued a scathing response, saying, “This is not a plan. It’s political rhetoric with bullet points.”

“I see no scientific justification for their logic; false assumptions about what the governor’s authority is or isn’t; and a truckload of motivated reasoning that would walk this state backwards into a disaster,” wrote Governor’s Office press secretary Mike Faulk.

The response further slams criticisms against Inslee’s school reopening plan, arguing that he does not have the constitutional authority to reopen them. It also calls into question the Senate GOP’s claim that Inslee’s regional plan failed.

“It also calls the regional plan ‘failed’ but failed by what metric?” wrote Faulk. “They don’t say. We think lower cases, hospitalizations and deaths are a sign of success, not failure. We think making decisions based on the best scientific analysis available is a good idea; their plan appears to be based on one single data point that does not paint a full picture of the scope of this pandemic.”

The Governor’s Office claimed that this plan would lead to a rebound in COVID activity.

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