TL;DR – April 9, 2021: Gov. Jay Inslee today updated and clarified the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan

Inslee updates Healthy Washington criteria for county phases

Under the plan that took effect on March 22, counties are individually evaluated every three weeks. The first evaluation occurs this coming Monday, and changes to a county’s phase status take effect Friday, April 16. In addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties have different sets of appropriate criteria based on case counts and hospitalizations.

In advance of each county’s evaluation on Monday to determine its phase, the governor established that:

  1. In order to move down one phase, a county must fail both metrics for case counts and hospitalizations. Under the previous plan, a county only needed to fail one metric to move back one phase.
  2. The spectator events guidance is updated to make clear what is allowed for counties in Phase 2 and how these events are related to school graduation ceremonies. That guidance is available at this link.

“Given the incredible progress on vaccinations and our focus protecting people from severe illness, we believe analyzing and requiring both metrics together is the right approach to make sure we’re considering the connection between COVID cases and our medical system and hospitalizations,” Inslee said.

Case counts and hospitalizations are rising in Washington. This is a concerning trend that is also happening nationally. Vaccines are making a difference in this fight, but millions of Washingtonians still need to be fully vaccinated. About 60,000 doses are being administered daily in Washington, but we still have to be mindful of our distance, wear our masks, and keep our gatherings small until COVID activity becomes less of a threat.

Following Monday’s evaluation, the next Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan evaluation will occur on May 3.

Inslee updates high-risk worker proclamation

Gov. Jay Inslee today modified Proclamation 20-46 to allow employers additional flexibility to seek medical verification from employees and to shift employees to health coverage alternatives.

Leading the nation in protecting high-risk workers, Inslee initially permitted workers to self-attest to their medical status. With increased vaccination rates and increased provider capacity, this update allows employers to verify employees’ underlying health conditions.

Proclamation 20-46.3 will continue to maintain the core principles of the original proclamation: workers who remain high risk will still benefit from job protection, access to alternative work arrangements, and eligibility for unemployment insurance and other forms of paid leave. Employers must provide employees with 14 days’ notice of any planned changes, which will give employees time to work with their medical provider to obtain verification and to seek health coverage through their employer’s COBRA plan, the Health Benefit Exchange, or private insurers.

Read the full high-risk worker proclamation here.

Additional guidance about the proclamation can be found here and will continue to be updated.

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers

On March 11, 2021, Governor Inslee announced the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan will be transitioning from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process. The governor also announced that a new third phase of the Roadmap has been added, and effective Monday, March 22, the entire state will enter Phase 3.

The complete Healthy Washington phased chart is available here.

Important Reference Documents

Healthy Washington Requirements

The following business activities must adhere to the occupancy and operation requirements outlined for their region’s Healthy Washington phase:

Spectator Events

Religious and Faith-Based Organizations

Professional Services

Personal Services

Eating and Drinking Establishments

Weddings, Funerals and Events

Sports, Recreation and Fitness

Indoor Entertainment Establishments

Outdoor Entertainment Establishments​

All employers must follow COVID-19 prevention protocols for employees as required by the Department of Labor and Industries. Industry-specific workplace requirements are listed below:

Additional Industry Requirements​

For additional industry-specific safety practices, including those for Farm and Agricultural Workers, Food Workers and Establishments, schools, healthcare providers, and others, please visit the Department of Health’s Resources and Recommendations Page.

Brynn Brady, Ceiba Consulting | Martin Flynn Public Affairs, Inc. | 253.686.3387