State to expand indoor dining and allow fans in stadiums

Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan will allow businesses to operate at 50% capacity starting March 22.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference March 11, 2021.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference March 11, 2021.

As coronavirus infections continue to fall, Washington state is moving to expand indoor dining and allow fans back inside stadiums for professional sporting events.

On March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee introduced Phase 3 of the state’s “Healthy Washington” reopening plan. It will permit 50% capacity for business activity such as indoor dining, bowling, and going to the movies, as well as 25% capacity for professional and youth sporting events.

Phase 3 also allows 50% indoor occupancy — up to 400 people — for indoor or outdoor events such as weddings as long as there is social distancing and mask use.

Starting March 22, all of Washington will advance to Phase 3, but expanded spectator capacity for high school and youth sports will take effect four days earlier.

The state is ending a regional approach to reopening and reverting to county-by-county evaluations. The state Department of Health will review each county’s metrics every three weeks, with the first update coming April 12.

To remain in Phase 3, counties will have to report fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over 14 days. And the rate of weekly hospitalizations cannot exceed five per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus continue to drop.

Inslee’s announcement came more than a month after King County entered Phase 2 of Healthy Washington. That allowed 25% capacity for indoor dining and other business activity that had been paused in November, as the state’s third wave of COVID transmission was beginning to hit.

For sports, previous state Department of Health regulations limited the number of people at outdoor sporting events to 200. That included everyone at the event — players, coaches, officials, school staff, cheerleaders, band members, media and fans.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about schools reopening during a past news conference. (Screenshot courtesy of TVW)
Masks required at big outdoor events; vaccine mandates expanded

Governor’s mask order takes effect Sept. 13.

Pixabay image
King County is looking for community members to help oversee law enforcement accountability

Community Advisory Committee for Law Enforcement Oversight is in need of applicants.

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
Why burning our trash may not be as bad as it sounds

Understanding waste-to-energy’s financial and environmental impact in King County.