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Seattle to join move to Phase 2, but ‘still cause for concern for our region’

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would be allowing two regions — including King County — to move into Phase 2. Despite early rumblings that Seattle might enact its own restrictions in the wake of that announcement, Mayor Jenny Durkan confirmed that she will allow the city to join the rest of the Puget Sound region in reopening.

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Inslee’s Thursday announcement changed the criteria for regions to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, making it so they only are required to meet three of the four public health metrics in order to progress forward. The original roadmap had required them to meet all four.

Durkan had said prior to that announcement that Seattle and King County are “still in a really dangerous position,” with variant COVID-19 strains becoming more prominent in recent weeks.

When asked by Q13 reporter Brandi Kruse about whether Durkan would consider keeping Seattle’s restrictions in place despite Inslee allowing the county to move forward, she noted that she wouldn’t entirely rule it out.

“But we haven’t had to do that yet,” she added. “I think it’s really important for there to be consistency not just in King County, but in each of the counties in the region.”

In the hours following Inslee’s announcement, Durkan confirmed that she wouldn’t be holding Seattle back in Phase 1, at least for the time being.

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“The Mayor supports Seattle businesses cautiously moving to Phase 2 and Seattle will not be imposing any additional restrictions at this time,” a spokesperson from her office told KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott. “However, both the high level of cases and the emergence of the new variants are cause for concern for our region. The Mayor will continue to watch these numbers closely.”

She went on to warn that if new, more infectious variant strains do become a problem, it “could lead to the Puget Sound region going backwards in the upcoming weeks if residents and businesses do not continue to take public health precautions seriously.”

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