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Posted on: March 11, 2021

Washington State Moves to Phase 3 of Reopening Plan on March 22nd

phase 3 metrics

Governor Inslee announced today that all of Washington State will move to Phase 3 of its Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan on March 22nd.  Reopening will also transition from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process.

The new 3rd phase also includes a return to in-person spectators at professional and high school sports outdoor venues and businesses will be allowed to increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50%, including restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and others.

Additionally, starting Wednesday, March 17, everyone in Tier 2 will be eligible for their COVID vaccine. This includes workers in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, firefighters and law enforcement, among others. Tier 2 also includes people over the age of 16 who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high-risk. Originally Tier 2 was slated to begin on March 22nd.

Governor Inslee said, “We are excited to take this step and we will keep evaluating our progress, and the impacts of these changes, to determine how and when we reopen further.”

Under the new county evaluation plan, counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks, occurring on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect Friday. The first evaluations are scheduled for April 12. In addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties will have different sets of criteria. If any county fails one or more of the metrics below, that county will move down one Phase in the Heathy Washington plan.

If at any point the statewide ICU capacity reaches greater than 90%, all counties will move down one Phase. The Department of Health always maintains the ability to move a county forward or backward at their discretion.

Sports guidance will change in Phase 3 to allow in-person spectators at events for the first time in a year. Spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor venues with permanent seating with capacity capped at 25%. The change effects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial covering are still required.

The new phase also allows for up to 400 people maximum to attend outdoor activities, as well as events in indoor facilities — so long as 400 people does not exceed 50% capacity for the location, and physical distancing and masking protocols are enforced. Larger venue events are capped at 25% occupancy, or up to 9,000 people, whichever is less, and must follow spectator guidelines.

Additionally, Phase 3 will allow up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. This applies to all industries and indoor activities currently allowed; restaurants, gyms and fitness centers and movie theaters, among others, may all increase their capacity.

The State will release a full list of industry-level changes for the new phase next week.

See Metric Below of Reopening Phases.

phase 3 metrics


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