TL;DR – May 4, 2021: Gov. Jay Inslee announces a two-week pause on the reopening plan. Every county will remain in its current phase. In two weeks, each county will be re-evaluated.

Inslee announces two-week pause on phases

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a two-week pause on movement in the Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan. Under the pause, every county will remain in its current phase. At the end of two weeks, each county will be re-evaluated.

The decision was made in consultation with the Department of Health, and reflects current data suggesting Washington’s fourth wave has hit a plateau.

“We are at the intersection of progress and failure, and we cannot veer from the path of progress,” Inslee said Tuesday. “Our economy is beginning to show early signs of growth thanks to some of our great legislative victories and we know vaccines are the ticket to further reopening — if we adhere to public health until enough people are vaccinated.”

For the past several weeks, epidemiologists have been following the state’s fourth COVID-19 wave, which now appears to be leveling out. The fourth wave has been less severe and case counts and mortalities have not been tied in rates of increase as they have in the past.

The changes in data throughout the fourth wave have been attributed to increasing vaccination rates, shortening hospital stays and lessening the severity of the illness. The state’s early vaccine prioritization has also been tied to improved data and decreasing mortality rates in the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Vaccines are now available to all Washingtonians 16 and up. To find an appointment, visit

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Inslee announces update to spectator event and religious organization guidance

Gov. Jay Inslee approved an update to the guidance documents for spectator events and religious and faith based organizations that allows facilities to increase capacity by adding sections for vaccinated attendees.

The change, which is effective immediately, outlines the guidelines for vaccinated sections at sporting events, graduations, religious services and other similar activities.

Under the new spectator events guidance: 

  • Outdoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum or
    22,000 people, whichever is lower, inclusive of both vaccinated and unvaccinated sections.
    Outdoor unvaccinated spectators cannot exceed 9,000 people.
  • Indoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum, or
    maximum 2000 people, whichever is lower, inclusive of both vaccinated and unvaccinated
    sections. Indoor unvaccinated spectators in Phase 2 cannot exceed 200 people, or 300 for rooms
    greater than 100,000 square feet of space—and indoor unvaccinated spectators in Phase 3
    cannot exceed 400 people, or 600 for rooms greater than 100,000 square feet of space.

Under the new religious and faith based organization guidance:

  • Religious and faith based organizations with vaccinated-only sections are allowed to increase overall facility capacity to 50% in Phase 2.

Under the updated guidance the following are acceptable as proof of full vaccination: Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date last dose administered) OR a photo of a vaccination card as a separate document OR a photo of the attendee’s vaccine card stored on a phone or electronic device OR documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider electronic health record or state Immunization Information System record. Self-reported vaccination records that are not verified by a health care provider cannot be accepted.

Read the full spectator guidance here.

Read the full religious and faith based organization guidance here.

See all reopening guidance here.

Inslee announces update to long-term care facility guidance

Gov. Jay Inslee approved an update to the guidance documents for Proclamation 20-66, Operations and Visitation, for long term care facilities.

The guidance documents will be amended to align with recent CDC recommendations regarding what infection control practices should be in place when planning for or allowing communal activities, such as group activities or communal dining. The changes will allow residents who are fully vaccinated to choose to have close contact with other fully vaccinated individuals and to not wear source control during the activity. This change reflects the continuing progression towards returning long term care facilities to a more normal state by allowing residents to have greater contact with their fellow residents, reducing the stark social isolation many have faced during the past year.

The changes are effective immediately. The Department of Social Health Services, in partnership with the Department of Health, will also issue a guidance letter to long term care providers notifying them of this change.

Guidance documents:

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 full 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