Inslee Announces Statewide Reopening Date of June 30 and Short-Term Statewide Move to Phase 3

Legislative Session, WBPA News,

For your general information, on Thursday, May 13, Governor Inslee announced that beginning Tuesday, May 18 all counties will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery and the state will reopen fully as of June 30.  This includes the counties that are currently in Phase 2 which are Pierce, Cowlitz, Whitman and Ferry Counties.  If local health districts feel that their county should be in a different phase they have the authority to do so.  He further announced that Washington State can fully open sooner if we get 70% of the eligible population over 16 to initiate their vaccination.  Currently 57% of the eligible Washingtonians have received their first dose and 43.57% are fully vaccinated

The governor was joined by Dr. Umair Shah, Secretary, Department of Health, Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Director of COVID-19 response, Department of Health, and Nick Streuli, Executive director of external affairs, Office of the Governor. 

The reason that the state is able to move to reopening is that they have seen a plateauing and decline of COVID-19 cases.  Both the case and hospitalization rates are coming down and death rates are the lowest rates that they have seen.  

The full reopening will include full capacity (100%) at restaurants, movie theaters bowling alleys and the like.  He further noted that the state of emergency will not end on June 30 because this remains an extraordinary emergency created by the pandemic.  One metric can change this if statewide ICU capacity rates reach 90% at any time they would need to rollback some of the activities. 

The Governor noted that he is adopting the CDC recommendation on masking with those that are two weeks after their second dose and two weeks after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may choose not to wear a mask.  Individual businesses will legally be able to require face masks if they choose to do so for their customers or employees to wear face masks.  Washingtonians will have no requirement to wear a face mask if you are fully vaccinated.  The masking option will not pertain to: 

  • Hospitals
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Long-Term Care
  • Correctional  Facilities
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Schools
  • Public Transportation

The Governor expects that all schools will open full time in-person learning in the fall and those that would like to remain in remote learning can do so. 

For further information, see the Governor’s press release below.

To view, his press conference click here.

May 13, 2021
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Inslee Announces Statewide Reopening Date of June 30 and Short-Term Statewide Move to Phase 3

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced that the state is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date and that all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan effective May 18 until June 30.

The announcement comes after the governor paused phase movement for two weeks to review an emerging flattening trend in statewide COVID-19 data. As of today, the plateau observed in COVID-19 activity has become a decline.

“What we know now gives us the confidence to close this chapter in this pandemic and begin another,” Inslee said at a press conference Thursday. “This next part of our fight to save lives in Washington will focus on increasing vaccination rates and continuing to monitor variants of concern as we move toward reopening our state.”

The full reopening could happen earlier than June 30 if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. Washington has administered over six million doses of vaccine, and 56 percent of Washingtonians have initiated vaccination.

Inslee also announced that Washington will fully adopt masking guidance issued by the CDC earlier today. He stressed that this guidance is for fully vaccinated people — meaning people who are two weeks removed from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.