Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)

Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Gov. Jay Inslee eased a slew of restrictions Tuesday (Oct. 6) that will allow dining indoors with friends, browsing book racks in libraries and getting served in bars a little bit later into the night.

The new rules, which come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide, will permit alcohol sales in bars and restaurants up to 11 p.m. in counties, like King County, that are in Phase 2 of Inslee’s four-stage reopening plan. In addition, eateries will be able to seat as many as six at a table and a requirement they all be from the same household is being eliminated.

Other guidance issued Tuesday allows movie theaters and libraries to operate at 25% capacity for counties in the second phase with theaters moving to 50% capacity in the third phase.

And, the revisions will clear a path for a resumption of some high school sports and the return of real estate open houses for small numbers of people depending on a county’s stage of reopening.

“We wanted to do target things to show we can do things in a safe way,” Inslee said at an afternoon news conference.

Youth sports is an area with some notable changes. Whether a sport is allowed, and to what degree athletes can compete, depends on a combination of the risk category for the sport as listed in the guidance and the presence of COVID in the county in which it is to take place. The latter element is determined by the number of COVID cases per 100,000 residents in a two-week span.

For example, in counties with between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000, such as King County (which is at 53.9), league games will be allowed for low risk sports of tennis, swimming, and track and field, and moderate risk sports of softball, baseball, soccer and volleyball. Scrimmages and intrasquad competitions for high risk sports like football are allowed too. In all instances no spectators are allowed.

The changes come amid an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases statewide. Inslee said he’s hoping the upward surge is temporary and a result of Labor Day gatherings and people spending more time indoors due to days of smoky skies. With those past, he’s counting on residents getting “back on track knocking the numbers down again.”

“We want to recognize the progress we’ve made. We want to celebrate it,” he said of the relaxed rules. “We think it’s the right thing to do because we have found the right way to do these things safely. “

As of Oct. 6, King County has reported 23,268 positive cases of COVID-19 along with 769 deaths. Of those positive cases, the county reports that 1,673 came in the past two weeks.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Alvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
State still sifting through thousands of unemployment claims

The recent Lost Wages Assistance program pumped an extra $625 million to Washington’s unemployed.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee (left) and Republican challenger Loren Culp during Wednesday's debate. (TVW) 20201007
Inslee, Culp joust on COVID, climate, crime in feisty debate

In their only televised match-up, the two gubernatorial candidates differed on pretty much everything.

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)
Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Jay Inslee (left) and Loren Culp
Inslee, Culp will meet in only televised debate Wednesday

The two candidates will answer questions for an hour but they will not be on stage together.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.

A Sept. 10 satellite image shows smoke from U.S. wildfires blanketing the majority of the West Coast. (European Space Agency)
University of Washington professors talk climate change, U.S.-China relations

Downside for climate policy supporters is it can risk alienating moderate or right-leaning voters.

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.