JASON RANTZ

Washington is one of two states without a plan or date to fully reopen

May 8, 2021, 6:33 AM
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A sign indicates the customer limit at a coffee shop in Seattle. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

There is a petition, started by the Washington Hospitality Association, asking Governor Jay Inslee to put a plan in place to fully reopen the state and to actually set a date.

Washington Hospitality Association calls on Gov. Inslee to fully open state by June 15

“It’s now time,” said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the association. “We really are excited to have a date that makes sense, that aligns with all the things we’ve been talking about are important, and get our economy going again. And while we were very appreciative that the governor on Tuesday didn’t roll us backwards, a lot of his quotes indicated we don’t have a plan to move forward.”

Anton says his team was talking after the governor’s news conference around the same time the news broke that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut set a plan to reopen on May 19.

“We’re like, well, where are all the other states on moving forward? And we started doing the research and really learned that 48 other states already either are open or have a plan to move forward,” Anton said. “Only us and Hawaii are the two states that don’t have a plan to move forward. Even California has a plan to move forward on June 15.”

This did surprise Anton as he says a lot of people have viewed reopening as a partisan issue.

“So I thought with roughly, I think it’s 19 Democratic governors across the country, that there would be other states that would have a similar opinion,” he said. “The fact that we’re really down to two did surprise me, to be honest with you.”

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The petition is asking for Washington to reopen on June 15.

“If we reopened on June 15, that’s a set date,” Anton said. “It’s a date that we can start planning for all the things we’ve missed. The weddings that people have been delaying can have a date, and talk about how their families come to them, and people who have their kids graduating — my son graduated last year and we missed it because of what happened, and I don’t want it to happen to another round of families this year. If we set a date, high schools and families can start making plans. People can start planning for travel around our state.”

“And yet by doing it in June, the worry about are enough people vaccinated will be gone because by that time, everybody who wants a shot will have had one,” he added. “So that’s why I think this is an opportunity we should be excited about. And I’m hoping as many people sign the petition as we can to let the governor know we’ll be with you, governor. I know you might be nervous about reopening and is it safe, but the Washingtonians are telling you it’s OK and it is now time to move forward.”

You can find the petition online here, or text the keyword RANTZ to 1-800-465-8770 for a link.

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Washington is one of two states without a plan or date to fully reopen