Wednesday both Washington and Oregon re-opened their economies.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee is holding celebratory events around the state, including a stop late Wednesday afternoon in downtown Spokane.
“We’re back in our restaurants tonight, 100%," he said. "We’re going to be back with ‘Deathcab for Cutie’ in this beautiful facility. We’re back in our theaters. We’re back enjoying our backyard barbecues. Most importantly for me, we are back with the highest place for a human civilization and that’s Hoopfest. I am so happy so see Hoopfest coming back to Spokane this fall.”
Inslee praised people in front-line occupations for their work to keep people safe, fed and educated.
“We know why we are able to be back. It is because the heroism, the professionalism of folks, the people who have been committed to their neighbors. It’s because of the nurses who are, who worked overtime in difficult conditions. It’s because of the grocery store workers who stood their every day while exposed to this virus, doing their duty, day after day. It’s because of the agricultural workers out in the field, who are out there today in this incredible heat, taking care of us," he said.
Washington Health Secretary Umair Shah also thanked residents for taking precautions against the COVID-19 over the last year and a half.
“We’re grateful for everyone who stayed home, kept their distance, wore masks, got vaccinated. We know that hard work and sacrifice saved lives, and paved the way to re-opening," he said.
Shah also urged the state to still be cautious. According to state Department of Health data, 68.8% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, and many are still at risk from new variants.
“Re-opening means that most businesses can operate just like they did before the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over," he said.
He urged those who are not vaccinated to get the shot, and said some local, or federal restrictions may still be in place.
Oregon also formally ended many coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday.