OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced changes to the state’s economic reopening plan that allows seven counties to move next week into Phase 2, which allows limited indoor dining among other loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.
The counties that will ease rules include those that constitute the Seattle metro area.
Inslee first announced the latest iteration of the state’s reopening plan earlier this month, which focuses efforts on reopening regions rather than individual counties. Before, each region had to meet four metrics in order to advance: a 10% decreasing trend in case rates over a two-week period; a 10% decrease in coronavirus 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%.
Now, they will only have to meet three, which means two of the state’s eight regions — Puget Sound and West — can move into the second phase starting Monday. Those regions include King, Pierce, Snohomish, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston and Lewis counties.
The timeframe in which each region can progress — or potentially be rolled back — will also change, with the state Department of Health evaluating the metrics every two weeks instead of weekly.