OLYMPIA, Wash. — More regions will be moving into the next phase of the state’s reopening plan on Sunday.
Gov. Jay Inslee said during a Thursday afternoon news conference that five more regions will be moving into Phase 2.
The East, North, North Central, Northwest and Southwest regions will move from Phase 1 to Phase 2.
Inslee initially said the move to Phase 2 would happen on Monday, but later announced Thursday night that the five regions could to do so starting Sunday, Feb. 14 because the Valentine’s Day holiday provides a large portion of some restaurants’ yearly revenue.
“I know this creates more options for restaurants to make Valentine’s Day special for couples who hoped they could have a night out,” Inslee said. “I am confident people, young and old, will celebrate safely. And if it’s a first date that doesn’t go well, remind them to stay six feet away from you.”
The Puget Sound and West regions are currently in Phase 2. These two regions moved to Phase 2 earlier this month.
South Central (Ellensburg, Yakima, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla) is the only region of the eight that remains in Phase 1.
There are no regions that have gone from Phase 2 back to Phase 1.
Earlier this month, Inslee said regions will now only need to meet three of the four metrics.
The four metrics remain the same:
- Trend in case rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100K population;
- Trend in hospital admissions rate: Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100K population;
- Percent ICU occupancy: Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds; and
- Percent positivity: 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests.
If any region fails to meet any two metrics, they will go back to Phase 1.
During the Thursday news conference, Inslee also announced additional aid for business and rental assistance.
This will authorize the Department of Commerce to distribute another $87 million for additional rental assistance ($43.5M) and business assistance ($43.5M) programs.
The governor’s office said the funds come from the state’s Disaster Response Account, and are meant to build on the state’s previous commitments while we wait for additional federal aid expected to become available in the spring.