Business groups urge Inslee to hold off on COVID rollbacks


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Washington Hospitality Association sent a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, asking him to hold off on returning some counties to more restrictive COVID-19 protocols until more vaccines are given out.

The letter was signed by more than 70 businesses and groups asking for a pause on sending certain counties back to Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan. Inslee cited rising virus case numbers for these possible rollbacks.

Under the potential rollback, restaurants would move back to 25% indoor capacity.

In the joint letter, business owners said returning to Phase 2 would not work to contain the virus, citing data from other states indicating that 25% capacity limits don’t deter people from gathering. Instead, they said 50% capacity limits with protocols in place work better to provide people with a safer outlet to socialize.

The letter added that a selective rollback approach would be counterproductive to the goal of mitigating virus spread as it would just make people more inclined to travel to other counties with fewer restrictions.

“We just think there’s a great opportunity for the governor in our state, with vaccinations being available to everybody this upcoming week, to unite us on a single focus,” said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association.

He said that Spring Break may be contributing to the increase in cases, and small businesses shouldn’t be to blame.

Anton also said restaurants lose about the same amount of money at 25% as they do when they are closed.

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