OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to raise a flag above the Space Needle to celebrate the lifting of most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Thursday’s hoisting of a “Washington Ready” flag over the iconic Seattle structure is part of a mini-tour the governor has scheduled to commemorate the end of most restrictions intended to curb the pandemic.

Those restrictions, which are expected to officially end starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, include 50% occupancy limits on indoor spaces.

The week’s celebration will begin in Tacoma. Late Wednesday morning, the governor is scheduled to attend a community celebration at Wright Park in Tacoma along with Mayor Victoria Woodards.

The public is invited to the event, which Woodards described as “important to recognize all we have endured over the course of this pandemic, how we have supported our neighbors and local businesses, and the many contributions of our essential workers.”

“When we reopen on June 30, I am excited to exclaim ‘Welcome back, Tacoma!’ and to gather in celebration of this much-anticipated milestone,” she added in a news statement.


On Wednesday evening, Inslee will head to a celebration at River Square Park in Spokane, to be joined by Mayor Nadine Woodward.

Then, on Thursday morning, Inslee will raise a “Washington Ready” flag above the Space Needle. Afterward, the governor is expected to make a stop at Pike Place Market.

In May, the governor announced that most remaining COVID-19 restrictions would lift by June 30, though he said last week some mask requirements will stay in place for people who still aren’t vaccinated and are working indoors.

The governor has said the state could reopen earlier if 70% of state residents age 16 and up get their first shot.

Despite that offer, and lotteries intended to spur people to get their shots, the state hasn’t reached that threshold. As of Monday, 68.2% of those adults had gotten their first shot, according to state data.