Washington state lawmakers sent a letter to Democrat Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday threatening to call a special legislative session if he does not reconsider the state's reopening plan which he "paused" for 2 weeks on Tuesday, the same day that Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis removed all COVID restrictions in his state.
As a result, Washington’s Pierce County will now remain in Phase 2 of the reopening plan, yet surrounding counties remain in Phase 3 despite failing the metrics that according to the Governor’s reopening plan would have sent them back to Phase 2 or lower.
Restaurants, gyms and retail locations will remain at 25 percent capacity in Pierce County but at 50 percent capacity in neighboring King and Snohomish counties. It was expected, based on warnings from state health officials, that King and Snohomish counties would likely revert to Phase 2 this week, but Inslee said during the announcement that data showed cases were "plateauing," a word many called a synonym for "flattening the curve."
Washington’s lockdowns have been some of the most onerous in the US. COVID cases in other Democrat states such as New York and California have continued to decrease in line with re-openings, following the same pattern as Republican controlled states such as Florida and Texas.
The Governor’s phased reopening plan and data tracking is yet another failed and inconsistent attempt by Inslee to monitor the spread of COVID. Other incarnations of data tracking including Inslee’s much touted "dials" system were quietly deleted from state websites as the data became more inconsistent.
The lawmakers wrote, "We must have a reliable standard that our families and businesses can operate from." The letter to Inslee, first obtained by Q13 FOX, was signed by Pierce county lawmakers including eight Democrats and four Republicans.
The letter said that granting a pause for some counties while not offering the same consideration to others and forcing them to return to previous phases "runs counter to our understanding that science and fairness shape decisions" and "damages both our confidence and our communities."
Republican lawmakers had advocated during the most recent legislative session which just ended last month, for removing Inslee’s emergency powers. The Democrat majority refused to act on any of the proposals.
The letter came the same day that the Washington Hospitality Association launched a petition to follow California’s lead and fully reopen the state on June 15.
In response to the letter, Inslee denied the accusations that Pierce County was treated unfairly and said that there was no "disparate treatment between counties" and his administration.