Three counties will move back to more strict coronavirus restrictions at the end of the week because of rising cases and hospitalizations, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday.
Starting Friday, Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties will roll back to Phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening plan, which means decreasing capacity for indoor dining at restaurants, retail stores and gyms from 50% to 25%.
Limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings are also reduced, though some sporting activities, including at the professional and college levels, can continue to operate under the higher Phase 3 limits if they have an approved plan.
“These metric trends are driven by the virus and we must continue to do everything we can to sharpen our focus and keep COVID-19 activity down,” Inslee said in a statement. “These are not punitive actions; they are to save lives and protect public health.”
Up until this week, all of Washington’s 39 counties had been in Phase 3. Initially, to stay in Phase 3, counties had to meet two metrics related to new cases and new hospitalizations.