Gov. Inslee allows 22 counties to advance into Phase 2 of reopening
Governor Inslee announced Thursday that the state will have five additional regions move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of reopening, effective Feb. 14. The governor originally announced the change would take effect on Monday, Feb. 15, but later changed it to Sunday, Feb. 14.
Counties across the state have been grouped into eight regions based on health system resources over a geographic area. To advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must hit three of the four following benchmarks: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.
To remain in Phase 2, regions must maintain three of those four metrics. If any region fails to meet any two metrics, they will regress to Phase 1.
In January, Inslee allowed the seven counties composing the Puget Sound and West regions to reopen under Phase 2 restrictions. He’s now letting the East, North, North Central, Northwest, and Southwest regions do the same.
That will have the following 22 counties moving to Phase 2:
- East: Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman, Asotin
- North: Whatcom, Skagit
- North Central: Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant
- Northwest: Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Kitsap
- Southwest: Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, Klickitat
The South Central region — composed of Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, and Columbia counties — will remain in Phase 1. In total, 92% of Washington will be in Phase 2 as of next Monday.
In Phase 2, restaurants can open indoor dining at 25% capacity, same for fitness centers indoors. Sports competitions may also resume in Phase 2 with limited spectators. Wedding and funeral ceremonies are able to increase their capacities from current limits as well.
There are currently no later phases for regions to qualify for yet, while the state waits for COVID-19 case activity to decline further across Washington.