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Pause in rollback ‘welcome news’ for many Washington residents, businesses

A sports bar in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood makes it clear that it is still open during the COVID-19 pandemic. (MyNorthwest photo)

So far, Gov. Inslee’s announcement that all counties in Washington will remain in their current phase for the next two weeks as rollbacks are put on pause seems to have been received as good news.

Gov. Inslee announces two-week pause on Phase 2 rollbacks

The Washington Hospitality Association, which represents restaurants and hotels statewide, is pleased with the governor’s pause. The head of the group, Anthony Anton, says the pause on further rollbacks recognizes the sacrifices that people in his industry have made to keep others safe. Anton says rolling back more counties to Phase 2 would have been the wrong decision.

The full statement from Anton is included below:

“We appreciate that the governor announced a pause on further rollbacks, which recognizes the sacrifices we have all made to keep each other safe. Rolling back counties would have been the wrong decision, given the progress in vaccinations, the drop in the length of hospital stays, the incredible damage that shutting down the economy has on families and small businesses, and that previous rollbacks have not worked. As the vast majority of states have or are prepared to reopen completely, we are eager to move beyond rollback-only approach and create a real path forward.”

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph was happy to hear that counties can stay in their current phase, but says the pause did come as a surprise. She says she doesn’t necessarily want local control over the decision, but she would like to be part of the conversation.

“Much like our businesses at the local level, we were not included in what the plan is,” Ralph told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called the pause “welcome news,” but says Seattle residents have to remain vigilant. She urged residents to keep getting vaccinated and follow existing public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Our region may be turning a corner on the fourth wave, and the pause is welcome news for a record level of Seattle residents and small businesses who are seeking vaccinations,” Durkan said. “While we are not rolling back today, we have to remain vigilant. Although King County remains in Phase 3, more aggressive variants show that we are not out of the woods yet.”

The mayor says more than 70% of residents have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 45% are fully vaccinated.

“The best and easiest way to be protected from the dangerous COVID-19 variants in our community is by quickly getting vaccinated,” Durkan said. “Everyone has more ways to get a vaccine than ever before, and we are so close to putting this pandemic behind us once and for all. Please continue to follow the best practices that we know are effective at slowing the spread of this virus: wash your hands, avoid crowded gatherings, wear a mask, and get vaccinated.”

Spectator events, religious organizations can increase capacity with vaccinated sections

The four city-affiliated sites in Seattle all have appointments available, as does the site at the ShoWare Center in Kent. The community sites in Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and at Lumen Field Event Center are now accepting walk-up appointments during open hours as well. Find more information on getting vaccinated in the City of Seattle here.

For help finding an appointment elsewhere, use the state’s vaccine locator tool or call 800-525-0127.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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