Inslee to lift Washington’s restrictions by end of June

Washington

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Jay Inslee said he hopes to lift all of the COVID-19 restrictions in Washington state by the end of June, if not sooner.

“Our state, most of our businesses, will stay at 50% capacity for indoor activities. But on June 30 that will be lifted, going back to 100%,” he said.

If 70% of the state has at least one dose of the vaccine, Inslee said the restrictions could be lifted sooner. Currently, 57% of eligible Washingtonians have had at least one dose.

Inslee was joined by Lacy Fehrenbach, the Washington Department of Health’s Deputy Director of COVID-19 response, and Nick Streuli, the executive director of external affairs for the Office of the Governor.

Earlier in the day, the Washington DOH released updated guidance for the 2021-2022 K-12 school year.

Although safety precautions will still be in place, Washington schools will be required to provide full-time in-person education for all K-12 students who are interested. Schools will also need to adhere to state health measures regarding school activities, such as sports, camps, performance arts and others.

All private and public schools will continue to operate with the existing guidance in place for the remainder of the current school year.

“Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being. They provide children with academic instruction, support for developing social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition and more,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “We are releasing this guidance early to give the schools districts in Washington the opportunity to put plans in place for a safe and successful 2021-2022 school year.”

In a press conference last week, Inslee left all Washington counties in their current phases on Tuesday, despite the concern of a fourth COVID surge.

More than a dozen Washington counties were at risk of rolling back from Phase 3 to 2, including Lewis, Yakima, King and Snohomish. Under Phase 2, spaces like restaurants and movie theaters have to reduce capacity inside to 25% and caps small indoor gatherings at 5 people.

Inslee said he is enacting a two-week pause on rollbacks. At the end of two weeks, each county will be re-evaluated.

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