What to expect with more Washington counties at risk of rollback to Phase 2

Apr 11, 2021, 7:58 AM | Updated: May 4, 2021, 10:29 am

Phase 2 rollback, Jay Inslee...

Gov. Jay Inslee wears a mask outside even though he's fully vaccinated. (Twitter)


On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee will announce whether any counties will need to roll back to Phase 2 of reopening. That would entail a dialing back of capacity across a handful of venues and businesses.

Gov. Inslee echoes concerns over move back to Phase 2

In Phase 2, capacity for retail stores, worship services, indoor dining, fitness centers, gyms, salons, and various forms of indoor entertainment is reduced to 25%, down from the 50% capacity permitted in Phase 3.

Establishments that only serve people ages 21 and up with no food have to close entirely in Phase 2.

Outdoor social gatherings in Phase 2 are limited to 15 people from outside of your household, with a maximum of two total households permitted to be in attendance. In Phase 3, up to 50 people are allowed at outdoor gatherings.

Gov. Inslee also released new guidance on Friday regarding spectator events in Phase 2. That includes:

  • 25% capacity for indoor and outdoor spectator events, or 200 people, whichever is less
  • Capacity capped at 300 people for indoor venues with over 100,000 square feet in space
  • Capacity capped at 300 people for outdoor venues with over two acres of space
  • Spectator groups of 1-5 people in all facilities, maintaining six feet of distance between groups

That guidance carves out an exception for professional sports, higher education/college sporting activities, major junior hockey, and part-time professional sports without players unions, who are all permitted to operate under Phase 3 spectator guidance even if their venue is located in a Phase 2 county.

State doesn’t think April 15 vaccine date will create unmanageable backup

In order to remain in Phase 3, large counties need to have 200 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks or five or fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over the past week. Counties with a population under 50,000 need to have a rate of 100 or fewer total new cases over a two week period or three or fewer hospitalizations over seven days.

Previously, any county that fell out of compliance with one of those two criteria would have to move back to Phase 2. Gov. Inslee announced in April that those rules have been altered to make it so a county would have to fail to meet both of those two metrics to be rolled back a phase.

The state plans to evaluate data from each county on Monday, and then announce the final list of rollbacks on Tuesday.

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What to expect with more Washington counties at risk of rollback to Phase 2