Wash. State eases COVID-19 restrictions in 7 counties

People stand near a sign as they wait in line to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, at a one-day vaccination clinic set up in an Amazon.com facility in Seattle and operated by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:38 AM PT – Friday, January 29, 2021

After facing severe economic impacts amid some of the toughest lockdown orders in the country, Washington State has moved toward reopening.

On Thursday, Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee said seven counties in the West and Puget Sound regions will move to phase two on Monday. He cited the state’s vaccination rollout, declining case trends and the easing of hospital capacity as grounds for the move.

Residents in these seven counties may now have indoor gatherings with a maximum of five people outside of their household, which was prohibited under the phase one lockdown mandate.

“So the region moves to phase two, restaurants may have indoor dining up to 25 percent of capacity as may indoor fitness centers,” Inslee stated. “In phase, two sports competitions may resume with limited spectators, and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their capacities above current limits.”

The adjustment came after Democrat imposed lockdowns in Washington led residents to file unemployment claims at historically high levels. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, there were over 62,000 unemployment claims filed in the first three weeks of this month. This data comes in comparison to the 26,000 reported claims for the first three weeks of January 2020.

Commerce Director Lisa Brown summarized the economic impact of Democrat-led lockdowns in a recent statement. She noted, shutting down the state has impacted individuals, families and businesses in a way she has never seen before.

“Business is down roughly 60-70 percent, which is pretty crazy,” stated restaurant owner Tony Browns. “Rent doesn’t change, utilities don’t change…the only thing that’s changing is people coming through the door.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of Washington’s Republican Party weighed-in during a recent interview. Caleb Heimlich warned about the devastating impact these lockdowns have had on residents and questioned the so-called science behind many of the governor’s previous policies.

“Small businesses, restaurants — 2,000 have gone under in the nine months where he has basically been governing our state single-handedly,” stated the GOP chairman. “There’s also mental health and emotional health.”

The ease of lockdown orders for these counties in the Seattle region are slated to begin on Monday.

MORE NEWS: Biden signs memo banning federal use of ‘Wuhan virus’ to refer to COVID-19

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