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Gov. Inslee extends pause on Safe Start phases indefinitely

Gov. Jay Inslee. (TVW)

Gov. Inslee on Tuesday extended the pause, indefinitely, on counties moving forward to the next phases of the Safe Start reopening plan.

On July 14, Gov. Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced the first extension of the statewide pause on movement to any phase. That pause was to expire on July 28, but was extended again with no end date.

There are now five counties in a modified version of Phase 1, 17 in Phase 2, and 17 in Phase 3, according to the state. Originally, the state Department of Health said each phase will last for a minimum of two weeks.

Gatherings are still not to exceed ten individuals for counties in Phase 3, and not to exceed five for counties in Modified Phase 1 or Phase 2. The limitations on gatherings do not apply to religious practices, weddings, funerals, business activities, or any activity covered separately by a memorandum or safety plan issued by the governor.

Inslee also released more details in a memo Tuesday on the updated Safe Start plan that affects restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries. The new tightened restrictions also apply to recreation centers, card rooms, and movie theaters. The rules are as follows:

Effective July 30, 2020, the following changes to the Safe Start Plan will apply:

1. Restaurants, Taverns, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries.

a. Alcohol service, including beer, wine, and spirits, service must end at 10 p.m.

b. Vending and other game areas, including billiards, darts, and video games, are prohibited.

c. In Phase 3, table size is reduced to five (5) individuals, and occupancy is reduced to 50 percent.

d. Bar-area seating is prohibited in all phases.

e. For restaurants, indoor dining at the same table is limited to members of the same household.

f. For purposes of the Safe Start Plan, “bars” are defined as taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

g. Indoor service at taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries is prohibited.

h. If a brewery or winery also has a restaurant license, it may continue restaurant operations pursuant to the safety requirements for dine-in restaurants and taverns.

i. If a temporary structure is erected to provide outdoor service, the structure cannot be enclosed by more than two walls. The limitation on walls applies to both rigid and flexible walls.

2. Family Entertainment and Recreational Centers
Indoor family entertainment and recreational centers, including miniature golf, putt putt, bowling alleys, indoor go-karts, arcades, and substantially similar activities, are prohibited.

3. Card Rooms
Indoor card rooms are prohibited.

4. Movie Theaters
Indoor movie theaters are prohibited until Phase 3. In Phase 3, indoor movie theaters are limited to a capacity of 25 percent.

The memo also includes an update on the guidance for secular and religious weddings and funerals. The Aug. 10 effective date only applies if the event was planned before the date of the memorandum. Any events planned after the date of the memorandum must comply with the above rules starting July 30.

Effective August 10, 2020, the following changes to the Governor’s Memorandum on Phase 1, 2, and 3 Religious Weddings and Funerals will apply in all phases, regardless of venue:

a. Indoor occupancy is limited to 20 percent or 30 people, whichever is less, if and only if six feet of physical distancing between households can be achieved. Outdoor ceremonies are limited to 30 people, and at least six feet of physical distancing between households is required.

b. Consistent with existing guidance, indoor ceremonies are prohibited in Phase 1.

c. Only ceremonies are permitted, and ceremonies must follow all other provisions of the “Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements.”

d. Receptions are prohibited.

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