Clark County enters Phase 3 next week as virus cases dip

Businesses may increase indoor occupancy to 50%

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wears a face mask as he arrives to speak at a news conference, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Courtesy of The Columbian files)

Clark County will enter Phase 3 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery COVID-19 reopening plan on Monday, March 22.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March 11 that the state was transitioning from a regional reopening approach back to a county-by-county evaluation process, and said all counties will enter Phase 3 on March 22.

“Because of the progress we’ve made by decreasing our case rates and hospitalizations, as well as our tremendous efforts to get more people vaccinated, our reopening plan is once again based on counties, not regions,” Inslee said during the March 11 press conference. “We are excited to take this step and we will keep evaluating our progress, and the impacts of these changes, to determine how and when we reopen further.”

The state will evaluate counties every three weeks to determine if a county can remain in Phase 3 or must move to a more restrictive reopening phase.

Larger counties, including Clark County, will need to remain under 200 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period and under five new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period to remain in Phase 3.

The new phase will allow up to 50 percent occupancy or 400 people for all indoor spaces, which means restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses that have been severely impacted by the yearlong COVID-19 pandemic and statewide closures meant to stem community spread of the coronavirus can increase capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent beginning March 22.

“Some of the hardest hit businesses in Washington will be able to return to 50 percent capacity as we continue on the road to recovery,” Inslee said. “On March 22, we take one more step to beating this virus and rejuvenating our economy.”

Inslee also announced that, as of Wednesday, March 17, people in Phase 1B, tier 2 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This tier includes many essential workers in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores and public transit, as well as people over the age of 16 who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high-risk of COVID-19 complications.

For more information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Clark County, visit