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Pierce County restaurants move to Phase 3 on March 22

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Great news for Pierce County restaurants. The county (and rest of the state) is moving to Phase 3 of lifting pandemic restrictions. Phase 3 begins on March 22, 2021. Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference this afternoon to announce that statewide, things can start opening up later this month.

For restaurants, that means indoor dining capacity will increase to 50 percent. Currently, the restrictions allow for 25 percent capacity and that has led to long table waits and difficulty for restaurant owners in juggling staffing, seating and, well, everything.

As the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department notes, “Beginning March 22, the relaxed restrictions on businesses and social gatherings take effect. Changes include: Pierce County restaurants can open with 50 percent indoor dining capacity. Alcohol service and delivery and consumption must end at midnight close.”

For a list of other activities that will resume, visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website here – https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/News/News/224/286?backlist=%2f

The governor’s office will release more specific details over the next several days and I’ll update this post with links as that information is available.

Here is a statement from Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, in response to today’s news:

“We celebrate today’s announcement by the governor that restaurants can open to 50 percent indoor capacity — this will benefit both the health of our state and of our industry. Since restaurants have been opened in our state, cases have continued to drop. This is a testament to our rigorous safety standards and practices, which are among the most strict in the nation. We know from extensive data from other states that reopening at 50 percent indoor capacity is the safest option, and we are confident that cases will continue to drop in our state.

“We look forward to continuing to provide a safe, highly regulated place for people to gather and help stop the spread of COVID. And we ask that you do your part to keep our team members healthy: Our restaurant and hospitality workers have been essential throughout the pandemic, yet will not have access to the vaccine along with other essential workers. We are working to correct this and hope we can find a solution quickly.”

Read more at the governor’s website here: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-statewide-move-phase-3-recovery-plan-return-spectator-events-and-phase

Here’s a Medium article with even more details here: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-statewide-move-to-phase-3-of-recovery-plan-return-to-spectator-events-and-tier-2-4a53000f2724

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