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5 more Washington regions advance to Phase 2 of reopening on Sunday

All of Washington state, except counties in the South Central region, will be in Phase 2 of reopening as of Sunday, Feb. 14.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Editor's note: Video was recorded before the governor moved up the reopening date to Feb. 14 

Five more regions will move to Phase 2 of the “Healthy Washington” reopening plan effective Sunday, Feb. 14. 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the following regions and counties will move forward a phase:

  • North – Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan
  • Northwest – Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Mason
  • Southwest – Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania and Wahkiakum
  • North Central – Chelan, Okanogan, Douglas and Grant
  • East – Spokane, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman, Garfield and Asotin

In Phase 2, a maximum of five people from outside of a person's household can gather indoors and indoor dining is available at 25% capacity until 11 p.m., among other changes. Indoor fitness centers can also open at 25% capacity.

Inslee originally announced the regions would advance on Monday, Feb. 15, but amended his plan to Sunday, Feb. 14. 

"This creates more options for restaurants to make Valentine's Day special for couples who hoped they could have a night out," Inslee tweeted. 

Credit: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee
As of Feb. 15, 2021, all regions are in Phase 2, except the South Central region, which remains in Phase 1.

The Puget Sound and West regions will remain in Phase 2. This includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in the Puget Sound region and Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific and Thurston counties in the West region.

The South Central region, which includes Yakima, Kittitas, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla and Columbia counties, is the only region in the state to remain in Phase 1.

Inslee said 92% of Washington state's population is now in Phase 2.

RELATED: Vaccine 'line-jumpers' dodge Washington state's eligibility rules

Last month Inslee relaxed the criteria to move between phases. Counties must now meet three of the following four metrics to be allowed to proceed.

  • 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%

Each of the five regions that will move onto Phase 2 meet metrics for case rate trends, hospital admissions and ICU occupancy, according to state data. The North and Northwest regions, as well as the West and Puget Sound regions that remain in Phase 2, meet all four targets.

The South Central region failed to meet two metrics – hospital admissions and test positivity rate.

Inslee praised the state for making “real progress on the pandemic” as the number of new cases dropped “significantly” over the last few weeks. On average, Washington recorded 2,894 new cases per day at the most recent peak on Jan. 8. Since then, the seven-day average dropped to 1,327 new cases as of Jan. 30, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health.

“People have been following science,” Inslee said. “We have been masking up. Business owners have been complying with the ‘Healthy’ rules and being very innovative in this way.”

Inslee also announced he authorized the Department of Commerce to distribute an additional $87 million from the state’s Disaster Response Account for rental and business assistance programs.  

RELATED: Phase 2 of reopening Washington splits restaurants along Snoqualmie Pass