VANCOUVER, Wash. — While visiting Vancouver Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee reiterated that Washington state's economy will open June 30 whether or not the state meets its 70% vaccination goal.
The reason for Gov. Inslee's visit was to tour the Port of Vancouver's marine facilities where a shipment of 69 wind blades, each 242 feet long, just arrived.
More than 3,000 components of wind turbines passed through the port through since last year. It's a point of pride for for the governor.
"For Washington state, clean energy means jobs," said Inslee. "Very skilled Washingtonians now being the heart and blood and soul and backbone of a clean energy economy that we're building here in the state of Washington."
But aside from Washington's clean energy economy, Gov. Inslee talked about when the state would reopen after more than a year of strict COVID-19 restrictions.
"We all knew that we were going to open on June 30. We are very close, we are just on the second yard line. No matter what happens, we are going to open on June 30. It could be earlier if we hit 70%."
As it stands, Gov. Inslee said Washington is nearly 68% vaccinated among those 16 and older. He also noted 98% of people hospitalized in the state have not been vaccinated.
"This is part of saving lives for a few more weeks, I'm proud of what we're doing."
Meanwhile, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has not promised a specific reopening date. However, she too has said she will lift most COVID-19 restrictions once 70% of Oregonians have been vaccinated. Compared to other states, Oregon and Washington have lagged considerably when it comes to lifting COVID-19 restrictions like mask mandates and capacity limits. For Gov. Inslee, it's a course of action he doesn't regret.
"We have saved tens of thousands of lives in our state because we have made decisions based on science and good planning," he said.