Cowlitz County moved back to Washington’s Phase 2


FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2020 file photo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. State lawmakers across the country will be convening in 2021 with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic rippling through much of their work — and even affecting the way they work. After 10 months of emergency orders and restrictions from governors and local executive officials, some state lawmakers are eager to reassert their power over statewide decisions shaping the way people shop, work, worship and attend school (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

PORTLAND, Ore (KOIN) — Cowlitz County is among 3 Washington counties that are moving back to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan on Monday.

Governor Jay Inslee said last week he would be making an announcement if any counties have to move back to Phase 2 because of rising COVID-19 cases.

Pierce and Whitman counties were also moved back.

Inslee last week altered the criteria used to determine whether a county moves from one COVID-19 reopening phase to another. Inslee on Friday said counties must fail both metrics for case counts and hospitalizations in order to move back a phase. Previously counties could be moved backward by failing only one metric.

At a news conference Thursday Inslee said “we’ve let our guard down to some degree.”

In Phase 3 of Inslee’s reopening plan, all indoor spaces — including indoor dining at restaurants, indoor fitness centers, and retail — have been able to increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies are OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.

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