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*.