Gov. Inslee rolls back restrictions, allows more businesses to reopen

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee is easing restrictions on restaurants, movie theaters, youth sports and races — to name a few. Libraries and wedding receptions are also seeing rollbacks on restrictions.

The changes mean you’re allowed to eat inside at restaurants with friends again — up to six people at a table. And when eating inside, you do not have to sit with the same household.

Movie theaters will be allowed to have 25% capacity in phase 2 and 50% capacity in phase 3.

Real estate will allow open houses again, within county crowd limits.

“These have been really, really hard times for people,” Inslee said Tuesday afternoon. “I think, just for a moment in these hard times, it might be fair to let us experience just a little bit of joy and happiness,” he said.

The changes come as some areas of the state see spikes in COVID-19 cases, including King and Snohomish counties.

But Inslee said the state’s health department worked closely with businesses and coaches of various sports, getting “creative” in some cases to determine new guidelines that can help people stay safe.

“It’s the right thing to do because we’ve found a way to do these thing safely with minimal risk,” Inslee said.

“We’ve done an analysis of the risk associated with each kind of sport,” he said. Football is not on the list of approved sports to resume.

The governor pointed to new research that shows masks protect not only others but also yourself and emphasized masks must be worn in order to keep driving cases lower. The state will also be launching a new campaign for Washingtonians to mask up.

The Washington State Department of Health is enrolling and activating emergency volunteer health practitioners for the COVID-19 response. For more information, click here.

Read more about the changes here.