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2 regions move to Phase 2 with governor’s changes to reopening plan

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After significant mounting pressure from the public and the legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee on Jan. 28, 2021, announced changes to his Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan that will move two of eight regions forward. Inslee updated the plan’s metrics system that guides which economic activities can reopen.

Two main changes as of Jan. 28:

  1. Regions now need to meet just three of the four metrics to move forward to Phase 2. Previously, regions had to meet all four of the metrics.
  2. The announcements of phase movement will now be made every two weeks, instead of every week.

The Jan. 28 change of metric goals moved two regions forward to Phase 2 where indoor dining rooms can operate at 25 percent capacity:

  • Puget Sound
  • West

These two regions represent about half of the state’s population, and these regions will be in Phase 2 as of Feb. 1, 2021.

What you want to know: Does Phase 2 mean restaurants can have indoor dining at 25% in addition to keeping outdoor tent dining as long as all rules are followed? Yes, this is our understanding for Open Air Options 2, 3 and 4, as long as the Open Air Option is a standalone tent separate from the building.

What you need to do: Still comply with the rules issued for restaurants, taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries. 

Here is a reminder of what the Healthy Washington plan means for your hospitality business.

What does reopening look like in each phase?

  • Phase 1: The closure of indoor dining, bowling centers and more. Lodging businesses continue to operate as an essential service. All regions were in Phase 1 starting Jan. 5.
  • Phase 2: Easing of restrictions, allowing indoor dining at 25 percent occupancy. Fitness centers open at 25 percent capacity and the size of wedding and funeral attendance increases.
  • Phase 3: Not yet announced.
  • Phase 4: Not yet announced.

What region am I in?

Your phase will be determined by metrics in the region in which your business is located. Rather than by county, your area is assigned an EMS and Trauma Region.

  • Puget Sound Region (King, Snohomish, Pierce counties)
  • East Region (Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman counties)
  • North Region (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom counties)
  • North Central Region (Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan counties)
  • Northwest Region (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason counties)
  • South Central Region (Benton, Columbia, Franklin. Kittitas, Walla Walla, Yakima counties)
  • Southwest Region (Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Wahkiakum, Skamania counties)
  • West Region (Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston counties)

What numbers do we need to see?

In this plan, there is no need for regions to apply to move forward a phase. Every two weeks, the state will evaluate metrics in your region and will let your region move to the next phase. Regions will move backward or forward according to their metrics.

  • Phase 1: Indoor dining is closed, unless you follow Open-air dining guidance.
  • Phase 2:
    • 10% decreasing trend in case rates
    • 10% decrease in COVID hospital admissions
    • ICU occupancy less than 90% (coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients)
    • Test positivity less than 10%
    • In Phase 2, regions must meet three of the four metrics to move forward.
    • To remain in Phase 2, your region needs to continue meeting at least three of the four metrics. Regions that do not meet the metrics will go back to Phase 1.
  • Phase 3: Not yet announced.
  • Phase 4: Not yet announced.

What does this really mean for hospitality?

In Phase 2:

  • For restaurants, taverns, wineries, distilleries and breweries, indoor seating is permitted at 25% capacity as long as you can achieve physical distance between tables. You can also follow the Open-air dining guidance. 
  • Bowling centers may not exceed 25% of the fire code occupancy. Only two bowlers are permitted per lane, no spectators are allowed, bowlers must maintain six feet of distance and wear masks at all times.
  • For miscellaneous venues: In-person meetings are permitted, and occupancy in each room or area is limited to 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events center, fairground, sporting arena, nonprofit establishment or a substantially similar venue.
  • Weddings, funerals and events: Indoor ceremonies and receptions, wakes or similar gatherings in conjunction with ceremonies are permitted and must follow the appropriate venue guidelines. Maximum capacity of 200 or 25% capacity (not including vendors) whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups. If food and beverages are served, the eating and drinking requirements apply. For outdoor ceremonies, the maximum capacity is 200, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups (groups of 15 maximum, limit two households per group. If food and drinks are served, the eating and drinking requirements apply.