Last summer, people took advantage of the outdoor dining along First Avenue between Gowe and Titus streets in downtown Kent. In Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Photo courtesy of Kent Downtown Partnership

Last summer, people took advantage of the outdoor dining along First Avenue between Gowe and Titus streets in downtown Kent. In Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Photo courtesy of Kent Downtown Partnership

Restaurant reprieve: State to relax some indoor restrictions

On Monday, area restaurants and certain entertainment venues may resume indoor service, the governor said.

Restaurants can resume indoor dining on Feb. 1 under revised rules for reopening certain businesses announced by Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday.

Bowling alleys, movie theaters and card rooms will also be allowed to welcome customers back inside.

Inslee laid out a series of changes to “Healthy Washington,” his recovery plan unveiled Jan. 5 that aims to gradually restart parts of the economy and public life in stages, regionally, where the rate of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are trending downward.

“We think this is a really good day in the state of Washington moving forward,” Inslee said.

Under the new rules, the Puget Sound region, which includes King County, Pierce and Snohomish counties, can advance on Monday, Feb. 1, to Phase 2 of Healthy Washington.

In Phase 2, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Also, indoor movie theaters, bowling alleys, card rooms, aquariums and museums can reopen with up to 25% occupancy. Under the current Phase 1, restaurants are limited to takeout service and outdoor dining.

To advance to a higher phase, Healthy Washington previously required a region to collectively show, over two weeks, 10% decreases in both case rates and hospitalizations, as well as ICU occupancy of less than 90% and a test positivity rate under 10%.

Regions will now only have to meet three of those four measures to move to a higher phase, allowing a greater degree of reopening, Inslee said at a news conference.

The West region, which includes Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston and Lewis counties, will also qualify for Phase 2 on Monday.

Going forward, the state will evaluate each region’s metrics every two weeks, instead of the current weekly review.

If a region advances but later fails to meet any two of the four benchmarks, it would regress to the earlier phase.

“The numbers make these decisions, we don’t,” Inslee said.

There is no information on what a future Phase 3 may require or include.

Inslee’s new approach eases restrictions imposed in November, when case counts shattered previous highs, locally and statewide.

King County’s step to Phase 2 comes as data show the area might be through the worst of the pandemic’s third wave. November and December saw the highest rates of positive cases in King County, and hospitalizations from the virus remained high earlier this month.

But in the 14-day period ending Jan. 27, King County reported 238 new COVID infections per 100,000 residents, the lowest rate since November. In early December, that figure had climbed to as high as at 445 per 100,000.

Hospitalizations and deaths from the virus have also slowed.

“What we have done in Washington state has worked, and is working,” Inslee said. “The kind of decisions we have made, difficult as they are, have saved thousands of lives.”


Talk to us

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

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Restaurants in the region have been erecting outdoor seating in tents during the pandemic, as seen here at Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Federal Way. In Phase 2, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. File photo

Restaurants in the region have been erecting outdoor seating in tents during the pandemic, as seen here at Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Federal Way. In Phase 2, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. File photo

More in Business

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
Is cryptocurrency really an investment? | Guest column

Undoubtedly you have heard about the new form of money known as… Continue reading

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Courtesy photo
The Cove Apartments to host open house Sept. 11

Attendees welcome to view the newly renovated apartment units.

Rice and noodle bowl with marinated chicken and tofu from the newest Sizzle & Crunch location at 31448 Pacific Highway S. in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
Sizzle & Crunch Vietnamese Grill opens new restaurant in Federal Way

Grand opening weekend to be celebrated Sept. 3-5.

Rudi Alcott has been named publisher of the Daily Herald in Everett. In Federal Way, city leaders awarded him a Key to the City in recognition of his civic service and as the Mirror’s longest-tenured publisher. File photo
Rudi Alcott named publisher of The Daily Herald in Everett

Federal Way Mirror’s longest-tenured publisher was awarded a Key to the City in recognition of his civic service.

Photo by Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
Federal Way Chamber CEO Becca Martin greets the audience before giving a “State of the Chamber” update during the membership luncheon Aug. 4 at the Performing Arts and Event Center.
Martin gives annual State of the FW Chamber address

The Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce celebrated a return to in-person… Continue reading

A Darigold dairy worker practices picketing as a strike is approved by the union. Photo courtesy of Julia Issa
Puget Sound Darigold workers on verge of strike amid contract negotiations

Workers cite lack of medical leave, outsourcing and bad-faith negotiations as reason for strike.

Courtesy photo
Curves reopens Federal Way gym at full capacity

The Federal Way all-women gym is located at 32020 1st Ave. S.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

MultiCare Tacoma General Emergency Federal Way is located at 29805 Pacific Highway South in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
MultiCare Tacoma General opens new emergency department in Federal Way

New 24-hour location provides care for illness and injuries as well as diagnostic services.

The Goodwill thrift store is located at 32521 Pacific Highway South in Federal Way. Photo by Anthony Sullivan
Goodwill store temporarily closed after fire damages building

A fire on May 21 caused about $20,000 worth of damage to the building.