Following Inslee’s announcement Thursday that most COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted by June 30, Republican leaders in the Legislature responded with a joint statement.
Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, and House Republican J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates restrictions should be lifted sooner.
They said June 15 is a more reasonable deadline.
“The governor’s announcement today leaves the door open to reopening earlier than June 30, if the state reaches his vaccination target,” the lawmakers wrote. “Either way, we have concerns about what his new guidance will mean for hospitality establishments, grocery stores and other places where people congregate. After dictating for 439 days about what employers can and can’t do, the governor is now saying ‘you figure it out.’ Republicans have pressed relentlessly for that freedom all along. If all employers had already been able to set their own safety standards, whether it’s masks, or distancing — or now, vaccination status — there would be less uncertainty and less chance that frontline workers would be put in difficult situations. The governor made it clear he sees no connection between lifting economic restrictions and ending the state of emergency. We disagree. It’s time to give the authority back to local governments and trust them to act responsibly.”
Inslee also announced that all Washington counties will move into Phase 3 of his reopening plan while easing up the state’s mask mandate.