VIDEO: Governor announces Phase 3 reopening March 22nd – 50% capacity for restaurants, fitness, more. Sports too. Vaccine eligibility also expanding sooner

2:37 PM: The governor says on March 22nd, every county in Washington will move into Phase 3 – which means 50 percent restaurants, fitness, movie theaters, more. Click above to listen. We’ll add more as it goes.

2:41 PM: He also says sports guidance is changing – so sports venues “with permanent outdoor seating” will be open up to 25 percent capacity – that means, for example, he says up to 9,000 fans when the Mariners open their season. High-school sports is included too. He says youth sports and summer camps are being evaluated as well.

He has vaccination news too – with more open appointments, he says, the next tier of eligibility will kick in March 17th, sooner than previously expected – “everyone in tier 2 will be eligible.” That’s food processing. grocery stores, law enforcement, firefighters, pregnant people, transit, farmworkers, and those with disabilities that put them at higher risk.

But even with all this, he says, “we gotta understand, we’re still in a fight,” so don’t drop your safety precautions. “If we do this, we (should) have a tremendous summer.”

2:47 PM: On to Q&A. Yes, the governor’s office got Seattle/King County signoff on the stadium-reopening plan. … As for youth sports, March 18th is the date they’ll open to some spectators “so more parents and loved ones can watch kids play sports,” said Inslee staffer Nick Streuli. … What about the variants? The governor says they’ll be assessing stats like hospitalizations, county by county, to see if anyone needs to regress to an earlier phase but if people keep up masks and distancing, he’s optimistic that won’t be necessary. Today’s announcement also again changes the metrics they’re watching to assess reopening readiness – see below:

3:03 PM: Here are the details. Counties will be evaluated individually every three weeks, so the next evaluation for reopening will be April 12th. The full industry-by-industry changes will be published next week.

3:17 PM: The briefing is over – the video window above should take you to archived video soon. Meantime. the announcements have started coming in – Mariners expect fans for their April 1st home opener; Sounders FC says it’s hoping to have fans at Lumen Field for its April 16th home opener.

5:59 PM: The governor has issued one correction – the vaccine eligibility is going to Tier 2 *of Phase 1B*.

35 Replies to "VIDEO: Governor announces Phase 3 reopening March 22nd - 50% capacity for restaurants, fitness, more. Sports too. Vaccine eligibility also expanding sooner"

  • Rosey March 11, 2021 (2:55 pm)

    lol? Opening up restaurants to 50% and service industry can’t even get into the most recent phase of vaccinations? Is this a joke?

    • Trisha March 11, 2021 (3:15 pm)

      Yep, you will wear the mask, and you will serve those fortunate enough to receive a vaccine, who still have the luxury of going out, and you will like it. -Inslee

  • Bell March 11, 2021 (3:20 pm)

    This is absolutely ridiculous! Still no care for the people working in our restaurants. I work in the service Industry and it’s scary. We are are stuck indoors with strangers not wearing masks for long periods of time and cleaning up after them. But we aren’t even on the list?

  • Carri Kaplan March 11, 2021 (3:35 pm)

    Does anyone out there remember kids.  Any government or school board officials?  Just wondering.  

    • WSB March 11, 2021 (3:46 pm)

      Well, the governor’s last several briefings have focused heavily on schools, and this one spent some time on youth sports. If you are referring to vaccination – nothing’s approved yet for under 16.

  • Jort March 11, 2021 (3:36 pm)

    While no governor has been 100 percent perfect in their response to COVID-19, I’m willing to give Jay Inslee the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the decisions he makes, since Washington, and in particular, Puget Sound, have done exceptionally well when compared to the decisions made by other politicians around the country. We should be proud of how well all of us in Washington have weathered this storm, which has kept deaths and illnesses lower than the vast majority of other states in the U.S. 

    • MercyMoi March 11, 2021 (4:07 pm)

      Seattle, in fact, has the lowest death toll per capita of the 20 largest cities in the country.New York Times article here

      • WSB March 11, 2021 (4:21 pm)

        Just a note since it came up in another thread and someone wondered about the death count … the NY Times chart is the “Seattle metro area” which includes King, Pierce, Snohomish counties, though the story focuses on Seattle.

    • Pessoa March 11, 2021 (7:29 pm)

      Different conclusions can be drawn in regards to this so-called weathering the storm.  Could the worse of the pandemic still have been averted without the draconian lock-downs that, most likely, caused an uptick in uptick in suicides, domestic violence, neglect of other chronic conditions and even the excruciating pain of an elderly person passing away without the touch of a love one?   The cost of this pandemic is incalculable  and it isn’t all tallied up by deaths directly attributed to Covid-19.  The real cruelty is that someone might have been minimally effected, while their neighbor was devastated. 

  • GroceryWorker March 11, 2021 (3:41 pm)

    Oh my gosh. I’m so relieved. I work in the grocery distribution industry and have been so stressed out about going to work every day, wondering if today is the day I’ll get Covid and bring it home to my partner.  I haven’t seen my parents in over a year. No one in my extended family will see me because I’ve had to work this whole time.  Fun fact – most grocery stores expect their vendors to stock the shelves. I’m out on the grocery store floor without even a flimsy plastic screen to separate me from the public. Since I’m not directly employed by the grocery store, no extra hourly pay for me or my colleagues.  Finally being eligible for the vaccine is a great day!

  • Winniegirl March 11, 2021 (3:41 pm)

    I work in the restaurant industry as well. I would ask problem to sign the letter to the governor put together by Seattle restaurants United. There is research that shows that restaurant workers are at the highest of risks because they must come in contact with people who won’t wear masks.–dE2UTVuVCQZlPTJikO6EpnE9WWo-ExmHY

    • flimflam March 11, 2021 (3:48 pm)

      yes, this is very frustrating, disappointing and frankly, insulting. We are the only workers that i can think of forced to be around people without their masks on. Please, don’t kid yourselves – most customers don’t wear their masks when seated, eating/drinking or not.Has Inslee directly answered questions regarding this stance? Has he been asked?

    • Supporter March 11, 2021 (5:37 pm)

      Submitted! Thanks for sharing, I hope the error of not including restaurant workers gets corrected!

  • flimflam March 11, 2021 (3:53 pm)

    i’m ashamed to say, but at this point i’m considering jumping the line. if the state has no interest in my safety (working in a restaurant with mask less customers) then i will have to look out for myself. I don’t like the idea really, but i know its possible and where i could go, i’ve just chosen to do the right thing and be patient. Now that everyone is ready for further opening without  any concern for industry workers i feel forced to be selfish and think of my own self interest.

    • Matt P March 11, 2021 (6:21 pm)

      Do it.  Lots of people have jumped already.  Those most vulnerable need to do what they can to protect themselves.  

    • Lamont March 11, 2021 (8:02 pm)

      Restaurant workers should definitely be able to get it next.  Ridiculous that they’re overlooking that while they’re opening up more.

    • Jamooley March 11, 2021 (10:43 pm)

      I may be eligible to get the vaccine soon, but I also have the luxury of modifying my circumstances to stay close to home for work. I’d give up my spot to allow those working in food service to get vaccinated sooner. If I’m going to occasionally go out to eat, it seems fair that the servers and staff be better equipped to do their jobs so I have the option to go out.   

  • WSOwl March 11, 2021 (4:28 pm)

    Seattle Times reports that all those in tier two will be eligible for the vaccine in a few days.

    • WSB March 11, 2021 (4:33 pm)

      It’s in our story above and has been since seconds after the governor said it. Tier 2 will launch March 17th.

      Also, in a development since this speech, President Biden will announce tonight (speech at 5 pm our time) that vaccinations need to be available to all adults by May 1st.

  • Person March 11, 2021 (4:50 pm)

    SEA is going to have to change their tune really soon.

  • sam-c March 11, 2021 (5:49 pm)

    “Sounders FC says it’s hoping to have fans at Lumen Field for its April 16th home opener  ???!!?”how long is their precious vaccine station going to stay open?? According to what I’ve heard, won’t they still be vaccinating those of us in Phase 1B, Tier 3 at that time  ??? (and then other phases beyond that…. ??????) Some of the decisions these people are making don’t make sense and that is why our state is behind in getting people vaccinated.

    • WSB March 11, 2021 (5:58 pm)

      The vaccination site is in the Event Center, not the stadium itself. Also, it won’t be in operation every day of the week for starters.

  • Smittytheclown March 11, 2021 (5:52 pm)

    Thank god.   Normalcy by Independence  Day!  

    • uncle loco March 11, 2021 (6:06 pm)

      I guess that means we’ll be back to complaining about fireworks.

  • WSB March 11, 2021 (6:02 pm)

    Further clarification from the gov. re: next stage of vaccine eligibility. it’s Phase 1B, Tier 2.

  • Mj March 11, 2021 (6:04 pm)

    Oregon’s Governor prioritized teachers for vaccinations and is now requiring schools to open!  Inslee should have also done this.  

    • trickycoolj March 12, 2021 (1:29 am)

      Because Oregon’s vaccinated teachers still refuse to go back. So tell me why it was worth the effort to prioritize teachers that can comfortably continue to work from home with school ending in 2 months (in Oregon) when my 64 year old mother who can’t work from home and has been quarantined 3 times from covid exposure  from irresponsible coworkers isn’t eligible at all?  Kate Brown is doing a terrible job in Oregon don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise. 

  • I’mcoveredinbees March 11, 2021 (8:59 pm)

    It is INSANE that restaurant workers are not eligible. This is not okay. I agree that they should include themselves. 

  • C’mon March 11, 2021 (10:08 pm)

    I am amazed that restaurant workers are “appalled” and can’t understand why they aren’t vaccinated.  First, let me inform you (that in my establishment), my employees have begged for shifts… why?  Because of the amazing and supportive customers who have been tipping wildly.  Thank you!  Second, restaurants’ have “literally” been financed to continue, thanks to some SBA loans that continue to to pay for employee wages (otherwise that loan would NOT be forgiven).  If this wasn’t the case… I would not offer any shifts and work them all myself… I don’t get it.  Restaurant workers aren’t “really” considered essential.  You can get unemployment (based on being uncomfortable in the job)… But- due to the remarkable patrons out there that have “hooked” people up… supporting restaurants, cafes, etc… Really?  You want hazard pay?  A year later?  After not getting Covid?  This is crazy.  Be positive, make customers happy, get tipped ridiculously… and, quit thinking that you aren’t appreciated by your employer with the hope the “council” will have your back.  One fun fact… once all small businesses were required to pay $15 per hour… a $1.5 jump from last year… well, I decided I wasn’t going to eat the unclaimed tips for my staff (which I paid for at the end of the year)… I made sure that they were claiming for “everything”.  Guess what Seattle council… NOW my employees make LESS with this new minimum wage jump.  We need to trust that employers will take care of their staff.  Woohoo!  Grocery workers are blessed by government with hazard pay!  Ummmm, the employees only get 1/2, the rest is in taxes (go Council!), and now… no more free meals, coffee, you name it.  Employees are officially getting paid WAY less, city council gets more money to waste AND… they save face.  Everyone needs to wake up and look at the big picture.  But, anyway… 

    • CMT March 12, 2021 (8:19 am)

      Have you considered that not ever restaurant owner is exactly like you and not every restaurant is exactly like yours?

    • winniegirl March 12, 2021 (8:51 am)

      Restaurant workers are at the highest risk for contracting covid and at the mercy of people who may not care about that point.  That’s why they should be prioritized.“- In January, UCSF released a study which identified line cooks as the profession with the single highest risk of death from COVID – above even frontline workers like nurses, or congregate work settings such as meat processors. – Beyond line cooks, a wide array of other restaurant roles were in the top tier of lethal risk, including bakers, chefs, and bartenders. – Restaurants are one of the few commercial venues where customers by definition remove their face masks when they patronize the business.- With restaurants able to open to 25% capacity, restaurant workers are being further exposed to maskless patrons, without knowing when they will be able to have safety.- The restaurant industry is disproportionately made up of women and people of color, meaning the risk associated with these roles underscores the pre-pandemic inequality that exists in our economic structure.

  • Martin March 12, 2021 (5:18 am)

    Perhaps the “pink tape of restriction” during the Sunday farmers market can come down and allow Junction business’s to regain some semblence of long lost Sunday business

  • Mj March 12, 2021 (9:38 am)

    trickycoolj – teachers in Oregon no longer have the primary excuse not to go back to in person learning, public opinion will ensure this.  Further, it’s time to help young people, a very low risk population, the immotional impact is huge and for challenged students they are falling further behind.  

  • Bell March 12, 2021 (4:23 pm)

    C’mon, thanks for the long rant but we weren’t discussing hazard pay, business loans or good tippers. I think you are on the wrong thread. We are discussing VACCINES and the fact that restaurant workers should be eligible for them. Just because your staff is asking for shifts and want to work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned for their safety.  Also, good tippers and great customers can spread Covid too, FYI. 

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