Phase 2

Stanwood, as part of the Puget Sound Region, can advance to Phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening plan, which allows limited indoor dining among other loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.

Inslee also unveiled more changes to the state’s reopening plan, which groups areas by regions rather than individual counties.

Now, regions only have to meet three of four key health metrics, not all four, to advance phases. The key metrics: 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%.

The change meant two of the state’s eight regions — Puget Sound and West — can move into Phase 2 starting Monday, Feb. 2. The Puget Sound Region includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The West Region includes Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston and Lewis counties.

“This is good news and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts and sacrifices to get us here, but we can’t celebrate too soon or let our guard down,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “While case counts and hospital numbers are going down, absolute numbers and rates of cases, deaths, and hospitalization are still at very concerning levels. We have lost more than 70 residents to COVID since the beginning of the year. We’re far from out of the woods and still in a precarious position.”

Camano Island, part of the North Region of Island, Skagit, San Juan and Whatcom counties, will remain in Phase 1. 

Another change: The state will evaluate each region's progress on the four health metrics — to advance, roll back or keep the same — every two weeks instead of weekly. The next announcement from the state on regions' status will be Friday, Feb. 12. However, if a region drops to two of four metrics, it will move back to Phase 1. 

In the second phase, restaurants can offer indoor dining at 25% capacity, and indoor fitness center can open with the same limit. Sports competitions can resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their number of guests.

“We are getting closer to finding our way out of this mess, but we aren’t there yet,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “We have sacrificed too much to let our frustrations get the best of us now when the finish line is in sight, however distant that may seem in our field of vision.”

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said the news will allow our businesses and workers to "more quickly get back to what they do best: providing goods and services to our community. Our small businesses are key to our recovery. Too many of them are struggling because of the pandemic, and the best thing we can do is allow them to get back to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

The following activities will be allowed in Snohomish County on Monday, Feb. 1:

  • Social gatherings — indoor gatherings of no more than five people outside the household, and a maximum of 15 people for outdoor gatherings. Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to two households, and face masks and physical distancing still apply.
  • Dining — indoor dining available at 25% capacity, with a max of six people per table and a limit of two households. Alcohol service must end by 11 p.m., but bars that do not serve food must still remain closed. 
  • Weddings and funerals — ceremonies and indoor receptions, wakes or similar gatherings are permitted, following the appropriate venue requirements. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. Dancing is prohibited. 
  • Recreation and fitness — indoor fitness, training and sports at 25% capacity. Low and moderate sports competitions are permitted, with high risk sports competitions permitted outdoors only.
  • Entertainment — indoor entertainment venues may have a maximum of 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. Outdoor venues may have a maximum of 200 people at the venue, with individual groups no larger than 15 people and limited to two households. 

 

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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