State may "reopen" June 30, Gov. Inslee says
Last updated 5/15/2021 at 12:08pm
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has set a target date of June 30 to allow the state to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
In the meantime, the governor will allow all 39 counties to be in his so-called Phase 3 of reopening beginning Tuesday, May 18.
The only two Eastern Washington counties currently in Inslee's so-called "Phase 2" are Ferry and Whitman. In Western Washington, Cowlitz and Pierce counties are in Phase 2.
“What we know now gives us the confidence to close this chapter in this pandemic and begin another,” Inslee during a press conference Thursday. “This next part of our fight to save lives in Washington will focus on increasing vaccination rates and continuing to monitor variants of concern as we move toward reopening our state.”
While the governor said he will likely lift coronavirus mandates by June 30, he declined to lift his emergency declaration.
Statewide, business and other offices could return to normal before June 30, if more than 70% of residents older than 16 get a coronavirus vaccination, he said.
The press conference came just hours after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an end to mask recommendations for those who have received a vaccination.
Coronavirus vaccinations are voluntary.
As the state reopens, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said students will not be required to be vaccinated to attend K-12 classes.
However, some universities — such Washington State University and University of Washington — will restrict all on-campus areas only to those who are vaccinated.
Other universities, like Eastern Washington University in Cheney, are not requiring vaccination.