SEATTLE — The current coronavirus restrictions around indoor dining and gatherings expired Monday and Gov. Jay Inslee's new reopening plan for Washington state is in effect.
Under the plan, called "Healthy Washington," there will only be two phases of reopening to start, and the state will add more as the situation improves, according to Inslee's office.
The Washington State Department of Health released a new report Friday that showed no regions are ready to move to Phase 2 of the plan. So all counties, which are grouped into eight regions, begin in Phase 1 Monday. To move on to Phase 2, the region must meet the following four targets:
- 10% decreasing trend in case rates
- 10% decrease in coronavirus hospital admission rates
- ICU occupancy that’s less than 90%
- Test positivity rate that’s less than 10%
In Phase 1, indoor social gatherings are prohibited. Indoor worship services, retail stores, and professional and personal services are limited to 25% capacity.
Indoor dining remains prohibited and outdoor dining is limited to six people per table or two households per table. Restaurants are also required to close by 11 p.m., and bars not serving food will remain closed.
A notable change from the state's previous reopening guidelines is that certain fitness programs and entertainment establishments will be allowed to open in Phase 1.
Gyms will be allowed to have appointment-based fitness and training sessions that last no more than 45 minutes and no more than one person per 500-square-feet.
Indoor entertainment venues, such as aquariums, indoor theaters, and indoor concert halls, can offer private tours for individual households of no more than six people. General admission will still not be allowed.
The new Phase 2 allows indoor dining, indoor fitness centers and indoor entertainment at 25% capacity, increased wedding and funeral capacity and sports competitions with limited spectators.
This plan differs from the previous "Safe Start" program in that there are fewer phases, and counties will move forward regionally rather than on a county by county basis.
Five regions will encompass western Washington:
- Puget Sound: King, Pierce and Snohomish counties
- North: Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties
- Northwest: Clallam, Jefferson, Mason and Kitsap counties
- West: Grays Harbor, Thurston, Pacific and Lewis counties
- Southwest: Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties
Spokane, Ferry and Whitman are among the nine counties in the state's East region.
Inslee said the regional approach to reopening makes sense from a public health perspective, as the virus doesn't know county lines, and because many health care systems are regional.
The metrics for each region will be updated every Friday on the Department of Health's Risk Assessment Dashboard, according to Inslee's office. The Department of Health will determine if a region can move into a new phase - forward or backward - the following Monday.