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Washington state extends freeze on phases of reopening until at least July 28

Gov. Jay Inslee warned restrictions could be reinstated if the state doesn't get a handle on rising coronavirus cases.

SEATTLE — Washington counties cannot move to the next phases of reopening for at least another two weeks, and it's possible that openings could be rolled back.

As coronavirus cases continue to increase across the state, Gov. Jay Inslee extended a pause Tuesday on reopening the economy to July 28 and warned there was a “significant chance” restrictions could be put in place again.

“People should not be surprised if more gets rolled back over the course of this pandemic, and that’s going to be impacted by how many people wear masks and how many people decide to socially distance, and that’s going to be determinative of our decisions over the next few days,” Inslee said.

Each county is in a different phase of reopening, depending on a number of factors including the spread of the coronavirus throughout the county and the ability of the county resources to slow the spread.

On June 29, Inslee announced a pause on reopening, citing rising cases.

From June 24 to July 7, there were 111.9 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Washington residents, which is higher than the previous peak of disease activity in March.

Inslee said how people react to the virus now will impact what happens in the fall when schools reopen.

“This is a very dangerous position we are in,” Inslee said.

If coronavirus cases continue to rise and the state needs to implement more restrictions, Inslee said things like indoor seating at restaurants and bars would be under consideration.

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