Many public spaces in Washington state will be set to reopen to 100 percent capacity on June 30, governor Jay Inslee announced during a May 13 media conference.
“This is a huge step forward,” Inslee said during the meeting, where he spoke without a mask for the first time in months. “It’s a new step forward in our fight against Covid-19.”
The full reopening, which encompasses restaurants and gyms, could reopen sooner if more than 70 percent of people 16 or older are fully vaccinated for Covid-19, Inslee said. Currently, 56 percent of that population has had at least one vaccine dose.
Children 12 and older became eligible for the vaccine on May 12, but Inslee said it was too recent to be fair for that group to be included in the 70 percent requirement for full reopening.
People are fully vaccinated after two weeks of receiving their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.
The state could see restrictions again if the state’s ICU occupancy goes above 90 percent, Inslee said. As of May 11, the ICU capacity was 82.3 percent.
State follows CDC mask guidance
Starting immediately, Washington will also follow CDC guidance issued earlier in the day for fully vaccinated people. Masks are still required in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and doctor’s offices, schools, public transportation, correctional facilities and homeless shelters, according to the governor’s office.
According to the CDC, those fully vaccinated may resume activities they did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or social distancing, except when required by law or businesses.
Business owners can still require people to wear masks, Inslee said. People will not need to show businesses their vaccination card right now, unless the business asks for it, he said, adding the news is recent and could be subject to change. The state is not considering vaccination passports at this time. People can download their Covid-19 vaccine information from wa.myir.net, take a photo of their Covid-19 vaccine card or get immunization information from their healthcare provider.
“This will not end the masks but it will end the state telling you that you need to be masked.” Inslee said.
No limit on vaccinated people at large events
Also effective immediately, the state will not limit the number of vaccinated people at indoor and outdoor sports events, funerals, weddings, live performances and conferences. Cruise ships with no more than 250 passengers may sail if all crewmembers and 95 percent of passengers are vaccinated, according to the governor’s office.
All counties can be in Phase 3 starting Tuesday, May 18
Inslee also announced all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan on Tuesday, May 18. All counties will remain in Phase 3 until June 30, but Inslee said local governments can keep restrictions on their counties if needed.
Inslee said he’d like to see progress with opening the U.S./Canada border in the upcoming months as vaccinations improve in both countries. The state secretary of health said he was told in a May 12 meeting with B.C. health officials that the province is receiving more vaccines.