Six Washington counties have applied to move to Phase 3 of reopening

Six counties have applied to move to the third phase of Washington state’s four-stage reopening plan that eases COVID-19 restrictions and allows businesses to start to reopen, the governor’s office said Wednesday.

Mike Faulk, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee, said applications to the Department of Health have been submitted for Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Columbia, and Wahkiakum counties. Skamania and Garfield counties are also eligible to apply. They are among ten counties that have been in Phase 2 for three weeks and are now able to apply to advance to the third phase. Nearby Whitman County could be eligible Friday.

Phase 3 expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75%. Gyms and movie theaters can also reopen at half capacity during this phase.

Most public interactions resume in the final phase, with bars, restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues returning to their regular capacity.

Under new guidance issued last week, since Monday, counties can apply to move to the next phase or to add new business activity, with the applications assessed on several targets, including whether the counties have had fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. (AP)

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