OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state is on track for a full reopening of the economy by June 30.
During a Thursday news conference, the governor said that the plateau in COVID-19 activity from two weeks ago has declined.
Inslee also announced that all counties will be in phase 3 of the state reopening plan, including the counties that are currently in phase 2.
The state will stay at 50% capacity for most indoor activities until June 30, when it will return to full capacity for most public spaces.
“This does not mean our state of emergency will end on June 30, because the extraordinary emergency created by this pandemic continues. The virus is not done with us: we are merely entering another chapter — one that shifts from restrictions to vaccinations,” Inslee said.
He also said the full reopening could happen earlier if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 have initiated their vaccinations before then.
According to the state Department of Health, 57% of people who are eligible have initiated their vaccinations and nearly 44% are fully vaccinated.
“Trends suggest it won’t be until late June when we reach our desired vaccination rate, which is why we’ve set June 30 for reopening, but I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster,” the governor said.
The state said there is one metric that could reverse progress to a full reopening and that is the ICU capacity. If statewide ICU capacity reaches 90% during the emergency, activities will have to be rolled back again.
Effective immediately, the state will be allowing additional activities with fewer restrictions and increase capacity for groups of fully vaccinated people.
For spectator events, such as indoor and outdoor sports, the state will no longer have limits on the number of vaccinated attendees.
Small cruise ships with fewer than 250 passengers can sail if crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated.
This also applies to conferences and live performances, weddings and funeral receptions. The state is working on this new guidance and will release it as soon as it’s finalized.
Multiple state departments are working with local businesses and organizations on incentives for people who are vaccinated.
“Vaccinations are a key piece of our economic recovery. We are making tremendous progress in this pandemic thanks to Washingtonians’ collective work to save lives,” he said.
Before Thursday’s news conference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for Americans who have been fully vaccinated.
The state is looking at the new guidance and is working on how it will incorporate it into the state’s mask mandate.
Cox Media Group