Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the economy can fully re-open on June 30, or whenever 70% of the state’s eligible population has had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
The announcement came after a two week pause on re-opening plans due to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. In his announcement today he said cases were plateauing, and deaths were down due to increases in immunization.
“There is universal access to the vaccine now. It’s lifesaving, it’s free, what’s not to like, and now we’re moving to full throated dedication to protecting our citizens using that mechanism, rather than restricting long-term our freedom of economic performance, and other things we enjoy in life.”
He said currently 56% of the state’s population has initiated at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the state is on track to reach the 70% goal by mid, to late June.
Inslee also announced a loosening on other COVID-19 restrictions the state has been under for the last year to comply with recently released CDC recommendations. The mask mandate from the state is ending, for those who are vaccinated.
“That shot is a ticket to freedom from masks, and we hope people will avail themselves to it.”
He said individual businesses can still keep the mask mandate if they want, and his administration is not going to require them to check people’s vaccine cards. Masks will still be required in homeless shelters, prisons, nursing homes and other medical or congregate settings.
He said next week the state will move counties into Phase 3, but will continue to monitor cases. Inslee cautioned that if state ICU levels reaches 90% or there is a dramatic shift in cases, the re-opening plan could be rolled back.