OLYMPIA — None of the eight regions of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan will be going backward toward more restrictions any time soon, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday.

In a news conference, Inslee announced a temporary pause to any region in his Healthy Washington plan returning to the first phase and tighter restrictions.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 infection numbers continue to decrease in Washington.

“We’re making this pause in recognition of the fact that we’ve made incredible progress in knocking down the infection rate of COVID in the last several weeks,” said Inslee.

The governor Thursday didn’t outline a third phase to the plan, which would set out even looser restrictions for commerce and social activities.

In the plan’s second phase — which is now in effect across the state — restaurants can resume indoor service at 25% capacity up until 11 p.m. Meanwhile, indoor fitness centers and entertainment venues — like museums, bowling alleys and concert halls — can also operate at 25% capacity. Establishments that only serve alcohol and no food, however, must remain closed.


At the beginning of this month, Inslee announced that some counties — which are sorted into the eight regions — could begin to loosen restrictions on those businesses, many of which were completely closed.

Other regions have since been allowed to loosen restrictions as virus activity dropped.

Republicans have continued to chafe at Inslee’s use of emergency power and restrictions that have been among the tightest in the country.

GOP lawmakers this week introduced their latest proposal at the Legislature to get the governor to accelerate the reopening of K-12 schools, which has been managed by local districts.

Under Senate Bill 5464 — which is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled Legislature — schools could not shut down for in-person learning for more than 10 consecutive school days without approval by Inslee, the state secretary of health or a local health official.

Gov. Jay Inslee will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. today to discuss the 2021 legislative session and the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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