WASHINGTON — Eight counties in eastern Washington have already entered Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee's Safe Start plan to reopen businesses, and by the week's end 10 more counties will be eligible to join them.
Already the following counties are in Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan:
- Pend Orielle
By the end of the week, these counties will all be eligible to enter Phase 3:
- Grays Harbor
- Walla Walla
Of those 10, Asotin and Skamania have already applied to enter Phase 3.
A county must have been in Phase 2 for at least 3 weeks before it is eligible to enter Phase 3. The third phase builds on the activities allowed during Phase 2, adding outdoor activities and sporting events for groups of up to 50 people. It also allows the return of theaters, gyms and public pools at half capacity and restaurants and bars can fill up to 75 percent capacity as well.
Phase 3 still contains restrictions on nightclubs and large events like concert venues and sports stadiums, which all return in Phase 4, the final phase of the Safe Start plan.
Right now, the state is currently looking at two other applications from different counties hoping to move forward. Chelan and Douglas counties are both applying to enter a "modified Phase 1" similar to the variance granted to King County. Modified Phase 1 has been created for counties that don't meet Phase 2 requirements, but want to bring some businesses back with even tighter restrictions than the ones in place for Phase 2.
Not including King County, five Washington counties remain stuck with regular Phase 1 restrictions:
All other counties not already accounted for, including the state's other largest counties Pierce and Snohomish, are in Phase 2.
Which counties are allowed to move ahead are determined by the state Secretary of Health after looking at a variety of key coronavirus metrics. Residents can see those metrics updated daily on the states.