Last week, Governor Jay Inslee released an updated roadmap to reopening our state’s economy. This roadmap, which takes effect today, January 11, is based on four metrics that reflect the capacity of our state’s regional medical systems as well as our growing body of knowledge about the novel coronavirus.
One of the biggest changes is that decisions about phases will be made by region, rather than county-by-county. Here, in the Seattle metro region, King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties will be grouped together as the Puget Sound region to reflect how interconnected the three counties are. Kitsap County will be part of the Northwest region, along with Clallam, Jefferson, and Mason Counties. You can see all eight regions here.
Phase 1 will look very similar to previous restrictions, with slight changes. Certain restrictions will be lifted Jan. 11, including outdoor live entertainment with timed ticketing for small groups, and appointment-based fitness programs for single individuals.
To move on to Phase 2, which will generally allow up to 25% of indoor occupancy, including indoor dining and fitness centers, regions will need to meet four metrics:
- A 10% decreasing trend in case rates
- A 10% decrease in COVID-19 hospital administration rates
- An ICU occupancy rate that is less than 90%
- A test positivity rate of less than 10%
Phase 2 will also allow sports competitions to resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies will be able to increase capacities from current limit.
To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least three of the following metrics:
- Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
- Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
- ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
- COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%
For more information about guidance for given activities, please see this post from the Governor’s office.
If a region fails to meet two of these metrics, it will move back to Phase 1. The Department of Health will update data every Friday, with new phases taking effect on Mondays.
Controlling COVID-19 is the necessary first step in full economic recovery, and we appreciate science-based approaches to reopening. We also recognize that even with this updated plan to reopen our state and region, many of our members still face nearly insurmountable challenges from the restrictions in activity for months to come. We continue to meet regularly with officials to advocate for policy solutions, as well as local, state, and federal resources, to help businesses and their employees weather this storm, and to distribute supplies so that employers can keep workers and customers safe.
The most critical aspect to fully and safely reopening our state’s economy is swift and efficient delivery of vaccines. As we enter a new year, we must press full steam ahead on vaccine distribution. The Department of Health's announcement about guidelines for Phase 1B is a step forward, and we urge state and local leaders to keep working together – and with us in the business community – to get vaccines distributed. Vaccination represents the home stretch, and now is the time to muster all the resources in our community to vaccinate widely and swiftly.
Our commitment to you remains: we will be a resource, we will work together, and we will advocate for what you need to reopen and recover.