Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson, File)
On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he would allow two regions – including King County – to enter Phase 2. Despite early rumors that Seattle might put its own restrictions in place following this announcement, Mayor Jenny Durkan confirmed that she will allow the city to join the rest of the Puget Sound region in reopening.
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Inslee’s announcement on Thursday changed the criteria for regions transitioning from Phase 1 to Phase 2 so that they only need to meet three of the four public health metrics to move forward. The original roadmap had required that they meet all four.
Durkan had said prior to that announcement that Seattle and King Counties are “still in a really dangerous position,” with COVID-19 strain varieties having been gaining traction in recent weeks.
When asked by Q13 reporter Brandi Kruse whether Durkan would consider maintaining Seattle restrictions even though Inslee allows the county to move forward, she noted that she would not rule it out entirely.
“But we didn’t have to do that yet,” she added. “I think it’s really important that there is consistency not just in King County but in each of the counties in the region.”
In the hours after Inslee’s announcement, Durkan confirmed that she wasn’t holding Seattle back in Phase 1, at least for now.
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“The mayor supports companies in Seattle that are cautiously moving into Phase 2, and Seattle is not going to impose any additional restrictions right now,” a spokeswoman from her office told Hanna Scott of KIRO Radio. “Both the high number of cases and the emergence of the new variants give our region cause for concern. The mayor will continue to monitor these numbers closely. “
She went on to warn that if new, more contagious varieties become a problem, it could “cause the Puget Sound area to go backwards in the coming weeks if residents and businesses don’t continue to take public health precautions seriously.”