OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state advances to Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan today.
All of the state’s 39 counties will be allowed to relax coronavirus restrictions.
Under Phase 3, all indoor spaces — including indoor dining at restaurants, indoor fitness centers, and retail — can increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies will also be OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.
In order to stay in Phase 3, counties just need to meet two metrics, and the metrics are different for counties that have fewer than 50,000 people.
Larger counties must have less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period and have fewer than five new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 people over a one-week period.
For 17 smaller counties — Klickitat, Asotin, Pacific, Adams, San Juan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Lincoln, Ferry, Wahkiakum, Columbia, Kittitas, Stevens, Douglas, Okanogan, Jefferson, and Garfield — they have to have fewer than 30 cases over a two-week period and fewer than 3 new COVID hospitalizations over a one-week period.
Counties will be evaluated every three weeks, starting on April 12. If any county fails one or more of the metrics, they will move down one phase. If statewide ICU capacity tops 90%, all counties will move back to the most restrictive first phase, which includes a prohibition on indoor restaurant dining.