Event Venues Included in New Statewide Recovery Plan

Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced a new regional phased recovery plan for COVID-19. “Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery” will begin next week on January 11 with all regions beginning in Phase 1.

For creative industries in Puget Sound, it appears King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties are combined into one region and that the new guidelines will allow for some expanded events and cultural activities not previously allowed under the Safe Start Guidelines.

Emergency Medical Service Regions

The Puget Sound region is one of eight Emergency Medical Service regions that are otherwise made of four or more counties, divided according to available health care services and metrics such as hospitalizations, case data and disease mobility.

With all regions starting in Phase 1, the restrictions will not fundamentally change for the most part, with a few key exceptions, including outdoor entertainment.

Outdoor Entertainment Opening and Other Activity Guidance

Outdoor entertainment venues are permitted to reopen in Phase One, including zoos, outdoor theaters and concert venues and rodeos, among other outdoor venues.  Operation must be by ticketed event only with groups of 10 and with a limit of two households.  Timed ticketing is required as well as face coverings and physical distancing.

Indoor gatherings and dining remain prohibited.  Outdoor dining is allowed at a max of 6 and limited to two households per table with an 11:00 PM close.  Indoor fitness has also been allowed to reopen with limitations.

Retail, worship services, personal services, and professional services — where remote work isn’t available—are limited to 25% capacity.

Phase 2 will extend the opening to indoor arts, culture and entertainment venues (at 25% capacity) and grow the maximum limit on attendance for outdoor events.

Metrics for moving to Phase 2

A region’s phase will be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) in response to four metric requirements. The final metrics for regions will be calculated on Friday, January 8 and will be effective January 11.

To go forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet all four metrics:

  • Decreasing trend intwo-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • Decreasing trend intwo-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19)of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%

To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreasing or flat trend intwo-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
  • Decreasing or flat trend intwo-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19)of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%.

Regions that fail to meet two or more of the above metrics will be moved back to Phase 1.

The metrics for each region will be updated on the Risk Assessment Dashboard every Friday. Dependent on a region’s metrics, DOH will move into a new phase — forward or backward — the following Monday.

DOH and local health departments reserve the right to move a region outside of this timing, and additional phases may be added as the state’s COVID-19 situation changes with continued vaccine distribution and other changes in public health response.

“Our goal is to reopen our economy safely, and to do it as quickly as possible. Every week, we plan on tracking our ongoing progress in protecting our communities against COVID-19,” said Secretary of Health Umair Shah. “The governor’s new plan will allow all of us to understand what measures are being used for the path forward including when it makes sense to ease restrictions across the state.”

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