Governor Inslee Moves 3 Counties Back

to Phase 2 of His Covid-19 Recovery Plan

Governor Jay Inslee has announced that effective Friday, April 16, three Washington counties – Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman – must move back to Phase 2 of his Healthy Washington plan called “Roadmap to Recovery.”  The action was taken because of an increased number of Covid-19 metrics in those three counties.  All other counties can remain in Phase 3 until metrics are re-evaluated state-wide.

Metrics

Under the metrics plan, counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks. The evaluations will occur on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect the following Friday. The next evaluation is scheduled for Monday, May 3.

In addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties will have different sets of criteria. If any county fails one or more of the metrics, that county will move down one Phase in the Healthy Washington plan.

For large counties to remain in Phase 3, defined as counties with more than 50,000 residents, they must keep a 14-day average of new COVID cases at or below 200 per 100,000 residents, and a seven-day average of new hospitalizations per 100,000 at five or fewer.

Smaller counties, those with populations of 50,000 or less, must maintain a 14-day average of new cases at 30 or fewer, and a new seven-day hospitalization average at three or fewer.

If at any point the statewide ICU capacity reaches greater than 90%, all counties will move down one Phase. The Department of Health always maintains the ability to move a county forward or backward at their discretion.

“We know there is enthusiasm around opening of schools and businesses and that state-wide advancement to Phase 3 several weeks ago was welcome news to many Washingtonians,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary for the Department of Health’s COVID-19 response. “We want to keep going forward together out of the pandemic, and our success hinges upon wearing masks, washing our hands, watching our distance, keeping social circles small — and of course, getting vaccinated when it’s our turn. These are the things that will help us suppress COVID-19, which is the key to our continued forward progress towards recovery.”

Additionally, all Washington residents age 16 and older are now eligible to have their COVID vaccinations.

Phase 2 Guidance

  • Indoor service is restricted to 25% capacity.
  • Open air service is permitted at up to 50% capacity.
  • Outdoor service is permitted at full capacity.
  • Alcohol service must end at 11 p.m.
  • Table size is limited to six people per table.

Phase 3 Guidance

Sports guidance in Phase 3 allows in-person spectators at events for the first time in a year. Spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor venues with permanent seating with capacity capped at 25%. The change affects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial covering are still required.

Phase 3 also allows for up to 400 people to attend outdoor activities, as well as events in indoor facilities — as long as 400 people does not exceed 50% capacity for the location, and physical distancing and masking protocols are enforced. Larger venue events are capped at 25% occupancy, or up to 9,000 people, whichever is less, and must follow spectator guidelines.

Additionally, Phase 3 allows up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. This applies to all industries and indoor activities currently allowed; restaurants, gyms and fitness centers and movie theaters, among others, may all increase their capacity.

Because the Governor’s Healthy Washington Plan has so many variables, the only way to find out for sure what restrictions your favorite wineries face is to contact them directly.

You can find the phone number and website address for every winery and every tasting room in Washington by logging onto: www.discoverwashingtonwine.com.  You’ll find a complete list of every winery in Washington by clicking on the “Wineries” tab at the top of any page of the website, and you’ll find a list of every tasting room in the state by clicking on the “Tasting Rooms & Wine Bars” tab.

Many wineries throughout the state are producing live “Virtual Tastings” to keep in touch with their customers.  By doing a little research, you can find out if your favorite winery is hosting virtual tastings.  Not only are these tastings informative, they are a great way to meet other wine drinkers who are connecting to the tastings by Zoom or other social media platforms.