SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington State Department of Health announced on Friday that all eight regions in the state’s new COVID-19 recovery plan will remain in the first phase until at least Jan. 18.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state’s regional economic reopening plan on Tuesday, which focuses efforts on reopening regions rather than individual counties.
“We know that all people in Washington want to move forward as quickly as possible with respect to COVID-19. However, these metrics show that we are just not ready to do so now,” Dr. Umair A. Shah, Washington’s Secretary of Health, said in a news release. “We have made progress but need to continue to work together to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 across our state.”
The new guidelines require regions meet four metrics in order to move to the next phase, at which point restaurants and indoor fitness center can open indoor dining at 25% capacity, sports competitions can resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their number of guests.
Each Friday, the state Department of Health will look at regional case rates, hospital admission rates, ICU occupancy rates and test positivity rates. In order for a region to advance, they have to show: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates over a two-week period; a 10% decrease in COVID hospital admission rates in that same timeframe; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90%; and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.
While in the first phase, starting Monday some outdoor entertainment — limited to 10 ticketed guests — is allowed and appointment-based fitness training with one client per 500 square feet is also allowed, as are things like outdoor tennis instructions, gymnastics, and no-contact martial arts, as long as it is limited to five athletes.
“It means the world for us,” said James Pope of Planet Fitness. “We’re really happy to be able to be open again.”