Washington is entering Phase 3 on March 22 but should be opening faster


March 18, 2021

OLYMPIA–Washington State House and Senate Republicans announced their Washington ‘Open Safe and Open Now’ plan earlier this month. The plan recommended re-opening Washington immediately balancing economic recovery against common-sense protections for those most vulnerable to the dangers of the pandemic.

The Governor’s Office, despite publicly opposing the majority of the Republican recommendations at first, has responded today adopting the majority of the Republican recommendations, effective March 22. However, there are some distinct differences.

While the Republican plan calls for an immediate opening for all business placing the responsibility on business owners to keep their employees and customers safe, the Governor’s office has elected to take an overly cautious response, overseen by government agencies, and limits restaurant openings to 50% capacity, in-person spectator events at 25% and a maximum of 400 people at outdoor activities.

Republicans have responded cautiously to the Governor acceptance of the Republican plan.

In a press release today, Senate Republican Leader Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia stated,

“I commend the governor for realizing it was time to move our state forward to Phase 3. Opening businesses to 50 percent capacity will put many people back to work and allow them to feed their families and pay their bills. My reaction must pale in comparison to the reaction that families across the state are having. People have gone through tremendous hardships. Maybe this will give them hope for the future.

The science shows that we can reopen to 50 percent safely and the data shows that it’s time to get back to a higher level of normalcy. We should all be celebrating cautiously.”

Based on the declining COVID infection and hospitalization rates published by John Hopkins University, Washington should be opening more quickly than March 22.

The Washington Policy Center has done extensive studies of the effectiveness of the lockdowns and the data shows that restrictive lockdowns are not working.

The lockdown restrictions on our state should be lifted now and reasonable health guidelines allowed. Businesses in other states are operating safely. They can operate here too as long as they can show they can do so safely in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

This is the right approach to re-opening our state’s businesses safely.

–Harmsworth is the Director, Center for Small Business Washington Policy Center and the author of the new Washington Policy Center study, “The science shows that restrictive economic lockdowns are not a panacea” that can be accessed via http://www.washingtonpolicy.org


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