OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington officials announced Friday that seven counties have been approved to move to the third phase of the state’s four-stage reopening plan that eases COVID-19 restrictions and allows businesses to start to reopen, and that six more counties have been approved to move to the second phase.
King County — the state's largest and home to Seattle — was approved to move to a modified Phase 1 and will now allow all outdoor recreation permitted in Phase 2, expand opening indoor fitness studios for one-on-one activities, allow restaurants to begin opening indoor seating at 25% of normal capacity and allow hair stylists and other personal services at 25% capacity.
Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties were approved to move to a full Phase 2, which allows restaurants and taverns to reopen at half capacity with limited table sizes, hair and nail salons and barber shops to resume business, and retail stores to reopen for in-store purchases at 30% capacity. It also allows additional outdoor recreation and gatherings with no more than five people outside of a person’s household. Twenty-six of the state's 39 counties are now currently in this stage.
Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahkiakum counties are the first counties approved to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3, which expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75 percent. Gyms and movie theaters can reopen at half capacity during this phase.
Five counties — Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin and Yakima — remain in Phase 1, which only allows essential businesses to be open and limits restaurant service to takeout and delivery.
It also allows for limited outdoor recreation, including fishing and golfing, the reopening of state parks and existing construction.
Counties have been able to apply to move to the next phase or to add new business activity, with the applications assessed on several targets, including whether the counties have had fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.
Most public interactions resume in the final phase, with bars, restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues returning to their regular capacity.