Washington state eases COVID-19 restrictions for Seattle region

Gov. Jay Inslee that seven counties in Western Washington will see their COVID-19 mandated restrictions ease starting on Monday. That includes counties that are home to tech centers including Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue, as well as Tacoma and Olympia.

Most of the state will remain in phase one lockdown conditions, while the seven counties will go to phase two.

Since early January, Washington’s counties have been grouped and evaluated by region to determine which business and recreational activities are permitted in order to slow the spread of COVID. Under an updated plan, the regions must meet certain criteria in three of four metrics before moving to a phase with fewer restrictions. Those benchmarks include:

None of the state’s counties showed a decrease in the rate of new cases, although because of delays in reporting, the data being compared are from the end of December compared to the first two weeks of January, ending Jan. 16.

The number of new cases in the state appear to be on decline through later January. On Jan. 16, the number of in Washington was an average of 1,860, as calculated over seven days. The number on Jan. 26, which is officially deemed an incomplete tally, was a little more than 1,000.

Under phase two rules, as set out in the governor’s , businesses are able to resume limited indoor services. Some of the most notable changes include:

Regions will be evaluated every two weeks, and will slip back to phase one if it no longer meets the criteria for at least three categories.

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