SEATTLE - The Washington Hospitality Association has launched a petition calling for Gov. Jay Inslee to fully reopen the state by June 15.
The trade group, representing an industry that's been hardest hit by COVID-19, says they have not asked Inslee to reopen the state until this week.
"It’s time. While other states have a plan for moving forward, Washington’s plan only moves in one direction: backward," said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association.
Anton said 48 other states have released reopening plans, while all counties in Washington are paused in their current reopening phase.
Most counties are in Phase 3, allowing 50 percent indoor capacity for restaurants, gyms and retail, but Pierce, Cowlitz, Ferry and Whitman counties remain paused in Phase 2. Phase 2 caps indoor capacity at 25 percent.
"The goalpost has moved too many times — first, it was about protecting seniors. Then, about flattening the curve. Then, about not overwhelming hospitals. Now, it’s about reaching an undefined vaccination rate that the CDC has already said is unachievable. We have all sacrificed only to have the goalpost moved," Anton said.
Inslee appears unswayed by the petition and said his decisions "depend on the science."
"What happens during this two week pause is crucial for what happens next, which is why we hope people continue to get vaccinated in high numbers and mask up," his office said in a prepared statement.
The petition comes the same week a group of bipartisan state lawmakers sent a letter to Inslee threatening a special legislative session if he doesn't reconsider the reopening plan.
The letter, first obtained by Q13 News, was signed by eight Democratic lawmakers and four of their Republican colleagues. In the letter, the group tells the governor that his decision to leave Pierce County behind "damages both our confidence and our communities."
The letter says granting a pause for some counties while not offering the same consideration to others "runs counter to our understanding that science and fairness shape decisions."
Inslee said he stands by that decision, too,
You can view the Hospitality Association's petition here.
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