Governor Inslee announced that on March 22, 2021 the entire state will advance to Phase 3 of his Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan. The state’s recovery plan will revert to a county-by-county evaluation analysis and metrics will be reviewed by the state every three weeks.
Governor Inslee’s March 11 announcement states that Phase 3 will allow up to 50% occupancy or 400 people maximum, whichever is lower, for all indoor spaces. Sports guidance will change in Phase 3 to allow in-person spectators at outdoor events with seating capacity capped at 25%. Six feet physical distancing and facial coverings will still be required under Phase 3.
Currently, under Phase 2, government agencies are required to hold meetings subject to the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) remotely, however, an in-person component is optional so long as safety requirements are met and attendance is under 25% capacity, or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Presumably, the expanded Phase 3 occupancy will apply to public meetings as well – but it is still unknown whether an in-person component to public meetings will be required under Phase 3. Specific state guidance with industry-level changes for Phase 3 are planned to be released the week of March 15, 2021.
Agencies should begin to plan and adopt policies for how they will hold in-person meetings as regions approach advancement to Phase 3. If you or your agency has questions about developing a plan or policy for holding in-person meetings, contact Jon Sitkin at firstname.lastname@example.org; Allison Beard at email@example.com; or call our office at 360-671-1796.