State to expand indoor dining and allow fans in stadiums

Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan will allow businesses to operate at 50% capacity starting March 22.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference March 11, 2021.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference March 11, 2021.

As coronavirus infections continue to fall, Washington state is moving to expand indoor dining and allow fans back inside stadiums for professional sporting events.

On March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee introduced Phase 3 of the state’s “Healthy Washington” reopening plan. It will permit 50% capacity for business activity such as indoor dining, bowling, and going to the movies, as well as 25% capacity for professional and youth sporting events.

Phase 3 also allows 50% indoor occupancy — up to 400 people — for indoor or outdoor events such as weddings as long as there is social distancing and mask use.

Starting March 22, all of Washington will advance to Phase 3, but expanded spectator capacity for high school and youth sports will take effect four days earlier.

The state is ending a regional approach to reopening and reverting to county-by-county evaluations. The state Department of Health will review each county’s metrics every three weeks, with the first update coming April 12.

To remain in Phase 3, counties will have to report fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over 14 days. And the rate of weekly hospitalizations cannot exceed five per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus continue to drop.

Inslee’s announcement came more than a month after King County entered Phase 2 of Healthy Washington. That allowed 25% capacity for indoor dining and other business activity that had been paused in November, as the state’s third wave of COVID transmission was beginning to hit.

For sports, previous state Department of Health regulations limited the number of people at outdoor sporting events to 200. That included everyone at the event — players, coaches, officials, school staff, cheerleaders, band members, media and fans.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

King County logo
Auditors find racial disparities in King County contracts

BIPOC-owned businesses earn contract bids at a much lower rate than white-owned businesses.

courtesy of Studio East
Studio East presents “Shakespeare in the Park,” as first in-person performance in 16 months

Twelfth Night – Shakespeare in the Park, Performing at Juanita Beach Park June 18-20, 2021

Artist rendering of the park (courtesy of City of Kirkland)
132nd Square Park improvements to begin construction in July

The $8.35 million project will add new park amenities and surface water improvements.

Graphic rendering of ADU design used for Renton’s Permit Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit program (courtesy of City of Renton)
Backyard cottages might offer a partial solution to King County’s housing problem

Some cities are embracing the solution better than others.

Flames attack the hillside in Bonney Lake on Sept. 8, 2020. (East Pierce Fire & Rescue photo)
WA firefighters brace for potentially busy weekend

Washington state Department of Natural Resources firefighters were preparing for what could… Continue reading

Kathy Lambert (courtesy of kathylambert.com)
King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert announces campaign for re-election

Editor’s note: This is a press release from the candidate’s campaign.

Jeff Duchin, Seattle - King County Public Health officer, said when considering whether to wear a mask indoors in public spaces, people should understand their risk based on local coronavirus activity and make decisions based on their own risk tolerance. (Getty images)
Should you keep masking up if you’re vaccinated?

Think about it, says King County’s top doctor.

Courtesy of the Washington State Department of Health
Inslee sets June 30 target for Washington to fully reopen

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places, the federal CDC said.

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17, 2020, at the state Capitol in Olympia. File photo
Open-carry of weapons now illegal at state Capitol, rallies

A new law bars people from carrying guns within 250 feet of a permitted demonstration.

(Pixabay.com)
As rates of stoned drivers increase, law enforcement face challenges

WSP trooper said a THC breathalyzer would be a “game changer” for law enforcement and courts.

E. coli. Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration
Seven King County children sickened with E. coli

Seven children in King County have been infected with E. coli, a… Continue reading