Phase 3 of Washington's pandemic recovery plan could help revive live entertainment silenced by COVID-19
SEATTLE - Starting Monday, March 22, the entire state moves to Phase 3 of Washington’s Roadmap to Pandemic Recovery. Phase three means indoor businesses like restaurants, shops, gyms and movie theaters can welcome back customers at up to 50 percent capacity.
There will be certain restrictions for places like nightclubs and music venues. Plenty of space is required between live performers and audience members. Hula Hula, a karaoke and tiki bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, requires singers to keep their masks on while on stage.
Still, the return of places to perform is a game-changer for many clubs and bars silenced during the pandemic.
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"It will have a positive impact on business. I mean, the last year, to survive a whole year where we were open probably six months out of a whole year was really difficult. It’s difficult for any business nd a lot of businesses didn't make it. We're grateful that we are one that did," said Joe Zara, general manager of Hula Hula.
RELATED: Washington state youth, high school sports welcome more spectators back into stands
For sports spectators such as Mariners fans know Phase 3 means more will be allowed back in the stands just in time for opening day on April 1. And it's not just the Mariners—this part of the recovery plan means professional and high school sports that play in outdoor venues can welcome back fans at a 25 percent capacity.
Starting March 18, the state increased the number of people who can be in the stands for high school and youth sports. The Mariners said they have the approval to host up to 9,000 fans a game, and Mariners chairman John Stanton said in a statement that the team is "thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to T-Mobile Park for the first time since 2019."
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Gov. Inslee said state counties will be evaluated every three weeks after moving into Phase 3, with the first evaluation on April 12.
If any county fails to meet one or more of the following metrics, it will move down one phase. If statewide ICU capacity reaches more than 90 percent, all counties will revert to Phase 1.