Back in phase 2, Tacoma enjoys the weekend sun
The beautiful weather allowed restaurants to fill the outdoor patios and helped people get out.
TACOMA, Washington – Gov. Jay Inslee’s office is asking people to “take him outside” to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Outdoor dining and recreation in Pierce County is crucial right now, as the county was one of three in Washington pushed back to Phase 2. The weekend sun made it easy for people to get out.
“It’s quite shocking,” said Keenan Donahue, a resident of Tacoma. “It came out of nowhere. We loved it.”
Donahue and her family spent Sunday afternoon in Dickman Mill Park to celebrate her niece’s third birthday. It was the first time the extended family had been together since before the pandemic. It was a well-received outdoor celebration as Phase 2 allows 15 people to gather outside – with five people for gatherings inside.
“It’s about being smart about it, and most of these people already have vaccines,” Donahue said.
As healthcare workers rush to immunize people, Inslee tweeted he follows his advice. He posted a photo outside of the Klickitat trail.
“We’re close. We’re so close. It’s so hard,” said Manny Contreras, who was out to eat in downtown Tacoma with his family.
Contreras also works in a restaurant in Tacoma.
The indoor capacity of restaurants has returned to 25%, so restaurants and bars rely on the limited outdoor space.
“Now that it’s this wonderful weather, it’s like swarms of people want to come in and eat, and it’s like, yeah, we need this business,” Contreras said. only welcome so many people, and that’s difficult.
Contreras hopes things will get better this summer, but he said to get there, everyone has to do their part. The state will re-evaluate the phases on May 3.
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“We’ll do better to follow these mandates for just two or three more weeks,” Contreras said.
On April 16, Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman counties returned to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates. At the time, Pierce County’s case rate was 268 per 100,000 people between March 20 and April 2, with a hospitalization rate of 6.4 between March 24 and March 30.
Shortly after announcing that those three counties would return to Phase 2, health officials in King and Snohomish counties warned that they were also at risk of backing down.
To stay in phase 3, large counties with more than 50,000 residents must have fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days and fewer than five new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people over seven days.