Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will announce Monday if any counties have to move back to Phase 2 because of rising COVID-19 cases.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Nearly 70 state business organizations are urging Gov. Jay Inslee to delay for three weeks any decision to return some counties to more restrictive coronavirus standards, which would hurt businesses.
Currently, all counties in the state are in Phase 3. Inslee has said he will announce Monday if any counties have to move back to Phase 2 because of rising COVID-19 cases.
The business groups said in a letter sent Friday night to Inslee that moving some counties back to Phase 2 would punish struggling businesses while doing little to stop the spread of the virus.
The letter was signed by groups including the Association of Washington Business, the Washington Hospitality Association and numerous chambers of commerce across the state.
Inslee announced Friday he is changing the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the “Healthy Washington” reopening plan.
Under Inslee’s most recent reopening plan that took effect on March 22, counties would be evaluated every three weeks on two metrics – case rate over two weeks and hospitalization rate over one week – and needed to meet both to remain in their current phase. That means any county that failed one of the two metrics would have moved back one phase in reopening.
Now, a county must fail both of the metrics for case counts and hospitalizations to move down one phase, Inslee said on Friday.
April 12 is expected to be the first evaluation since all counties moved to Phase 3 and any possible changes would take effect on Friday, April 16. The next evaluation will take place on May 3.