Business groups ask governor not to roll some counties to Phase 2

By Nicholas K. Geranios

The Associated Press

SPOKANE — Nearly 70 state business organizations are urging Gov. Jay Inslee to delay for three weeks any decision to return some counties to more restrictive coronavirus standards, which would hurt businesses.

Inslee has said he will announce today if any counties have to move backward because of rising COVID-19 cases. Currently, all counties in the state are in Phase 3.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising in many areas, numerous places were at risk of rolling backward, including Douglas, Cowlitz, Pierce and Yakima counties.

Moving some counties back to Phase 2 would punish struggling businesses while doing little to stop the spread of COVID, the business groups said in a letter sent Friday night to Inslee.

The letter was signed by groups including the Association of Washington Business, the Washington Hospitality Association and numerous chambers of commerce across the state.

“After a very difficult fall and winter, our state finally celebrated together the important milestone of Phase 3 reopening,” the letter said, adding the state should focus on increasing the vaccination rate instead of rolling back to Phase 2.

Phase 3 allows businesses to operate at 50 percent of capacity, compared to 25 percent in Phase 2, the letter said. People in a county that is downgraded will simply travel to a nearby county that remains in Phase 3, the letter said.

“Give us three weeks, and together, we can make a large leap forward in increasing vaccinations and stamping out this virus,” the letter said.

Vaccines are making a difference, Inslee said Friday, but millions of Washington’s 7 million residents still need to be fully vaccinated. Nearly 3.8 million people in the state have received one vaccine dose and more than 1.5 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health.

More than 348,400 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Washington since the pandemic began and 5,316 people have died, the agency said.

All residents over age 16 will be eligible for a vaccination on Thursday.

More in News

John Brewer.
Former editor and publisher of PDN dies

John Brewer, 76, was instrumental in community

From left to right are Indigo Gould, Hazel Windstorm, Eli Hill, Stuart Dow, Mateu Yearian and Hugh Wentzel.
Port Townsend Knowledge Bowl team wins consecutive state championships

The Knowledge Bowl team from Port Townsend High School has… Continue reading

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls dirt from around the base of an orca sculpture at the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield on Thursday during site preparation to rebuild the Port Angeles play facility, which was partially destroyed by an arson fire on Dec. 20. A community build for the replacement playground is scheduled for May 15-19 with numerous volunteer slots available. Signups are available at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084DA4AC23A5F85-47934048-dream#/. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Site preparation at Dream Playground

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls… Continue reading

Rayonier Inc. is selling more than 115,000 acres in four units across the West Olympic Peninsula last week as the company looks to sell $1 billion worth of assets. (Courtesy photo / Rayonier Inc.)
Rayonier to sell West End timberland

Plans call for debt restructuring; bids due in June

Port Angeles port approves contract for Maritime Trade Center bid

Utilities installation, paving part of project at 18-acre site

Port Angeles to hire personnel to operate day ambulance

The Port Angeles Fire Department will be able to… Continue reading

Port Angeles City Hall parking lot closed for construction

Work crews from Bruch and Bruch Construction, Inc. will… Continue reading

Teen photo contest open for submissions

The Jefferson County Library is accepting submissions for Teen… Continue reading

Letters of inquiry for grant cycle due May 15

The Olympic View Community Foundation and the Seattle Foundation will… Continue reading

Amy DeQuay of Port Angeles, right, signs up for information at a table staffed by Christopher Allen and Mary Sue French of the Port Angeles Arts Council during a Volunteer Fair on Wednesday at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles. The event, organized by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, brought together numerous North Olympic Peninsula agencies that offer people a chance to get involved in their communities. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Volunteer fair in Port Angeles

Amy DeQuay of Port Angeles, right, signs up for information at a… Continue reading

Luncheon to raise funds for women with cancer

The Kathleen Sutton Fund will host its third spring… Continue reading

Among those volunteering are rowers from Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Sequim. Pictured from left to right are WendyRae Johnson of Port Angeles; Gail Clark and Lynn Gilles, both of Sequim, Jean Heessels-Petit of Sequim; Christi Jolly, Dennis Miller, Carolyn DeSalvo and Frank DeSalvo, all of Sequim; and Rudy Heessels, Amy Holms and Guy Lawrence, all of Sequim.
Sequim Bay Yacht Club to host opening day ceremonies

The Sequim Bay Yacht Club will host free boat rides… Continue reading