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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With COVID cases and hospitalizations continuing to trend downward, and more vaccinations coming to our counties, it is time to move our economy into Phase 3. However, Gov. Inslee has repeatedly refused to say what Phase 3 looks like, what the parameters might be, or how long our economy must remain in Phase 2.

With no leadership or direction from Gov. Jay Inslee on what Phase 3 looks like for Washington, I have joined with my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus to propose our Open Safe, Open Now plan.

In our plan, we give the responsibility for the health and safety of our citizens back to the people and to local health districts. Our citizens, communities, schools, and small businesses now know how to stay safe. Wearing masks, frequently washing hands and sanitizing surfaces, social distancing, plexiglass barriers – are all part of this process and we urge citizens to continue these measures. But we need to move to Phase 3 and we need to do it immediately.

In our plan, ALL COUNTIES would move to Phase 3, which would look like this:

  • All children in grades K-12 would immediately return to the classroom for in-person instruction.
  • School districts would implement safety protocols provided by the CDC.
  • Hospitality businesses and public venues, such as restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, libraries, and other entertainment venues, would be open to 50% capacity.
  • Bars and restaurants would stop serving alcohol and close at midnight.
  • State parks and other state agencies whose function is tourism/recreation would resume bookings for day-use and overnight facilities at 50% capacity.
  • Indoor weddings and religious services would open to 50% capacity.
  • Professional services would open to 50% capacity.

After three weeks, all counties would move to Phase 4 (100% open) unless the local county health jurisdiction determines its county is not prepared to move to the next phase. County health officials would have to demonstrate why, based on trends in case and hospital admission rates, ICU bed capacity, and the virus positivity rate.

In my comments during our press conference, I reiterated the need for local control over health care decisions. You can watch our press conference here.

What do you think? I'd like to hear from you. Do you believe we are ready to move to Phase 3? Do you like what our version of Phase 3 is? It's simple, clearly defined, and based on downward trends in important COVID numbers. What do you think? Shoot me an email and let me know.

Thank you for staying engaged and for allowing me to serve you in the state House.


Joe Schmick

State Representative Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000