An earlier version of this story included data from the state Department of Health that did not match numbers compiled by the Chelan-Douglas Health District. The story has been corrected.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday relaxed Safe Start regulations in Chelan and Douglas counties relating to team sports and restaurant dining.
Some team sports, both school and non-school, may resume and a requirement that only members of the same household eat together at a restaurant was eliminated.
"We’re doing this now because we have had ongoing conversations with businesses about how to do these activities safely," Inslee said at a press conference Tuesday. "Instead of tightening restrictions, we can roll some more back to allow safer operation of these activities."
Counties in Phase 2, like Grant and Okanogan counties, and Phase 3, like Kittitas County, will be able to reopen movie theaters and libraries at limited capacity and restaurants and taverns will be able to serve alcohol an hour later until 11 p.m.
Still in Phase 1.5, Chelan and Douglas counties will have to wait to reopen their related businesses. However, a requirement that only members of the same household sit at the same restaurant table was scrapped.
“What we concluded was we were really not getting reduction of transmissions from this policy, bottom line, and it was aggravating to people and it was not reducing transmissions one way or another,” Inslee said. “So this was a rational choice.
The governor enacted changes to team sports and aligned school related and non-school related sports guidance.
Team practices in some sports can resume in all counties, but competitions are held to a higher standard.
Competitions between teams may resume in some counties but determining which county is based on a combination of metrics: the county’s rate of infection per 100,000 over two weeks, its rate of positive cases, and the risk of infection posed by the sport.
Chelan County has a two-week infection rate of 154.1 per 100,000 and Douglas County has a rate of 117.4 per 100,000; residents will be able to participate in low-risk sports. Grant County has an infection rate of 337.6 per 100,000 and may play low-risk sports. Okanogan County has an infection rate of 21.5 per 100,000.
Here’s an incomplete list of competitions permitted in each risk category:
Low-risk sports (allowed in all counties): tennis, swimming, pickleball, golf, cross country, track and field, sideline/no-contact cheer and dance, disc golf.
Moderate-risk sports (not allowed in Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties): softball, baseball, t-ball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, ice hockey, cricket, gymnastics, crew, field hockey, school bowling competitions.
High-risk sports (not allowed in Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties): football, rugby, wrestling, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, basketball, water polo, martial arts competitions, roller derby.
Tournaments and spectators aren’t allowed in counties considered moderate to high risk.
View the governor’s guidance for complete details.
Moderate-risk counties (includes Chelan County) are required to abide by the following:
- Attendance rosters should include group contact information. Each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a “return to play” safety plan. Any practice or training activities that can be done outdoors should be done outdoors.
- Scrimmage, intra-team competitions, and league games allowed for both low- and moderate-risk sports. Scrimmage, intra-team competitions, but no competitions of any kind against other teams, allowed for high risk sports.
- No tournaments allowed.
- No spectators allowed except for one adult parent or guardian/caregiver for each minor-aged participant allowed. Spectators must maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet between each person. No spectators allowed for participants 18 and older.
Here’s how it looks for high-risk counties (includes Douglas County):
- Team practices and/or training can resume for low, medium, and high risk sports if players are limited to groups of six in separate parts of the field/court, separated by a buffer zone. Brief close contact is permitted. It is preferable for the groups of six to be stable over time. Attendance rosters should include group contact information. Each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a “return to play” safety plan. Any practice or training activities that can be done outdoors should be done outdoors.
- Scrimmage, intra-team competitions, and league games or competition allowed for low risk sports, but are discouraged if school is not conducting in person learning.
- No tournaments allowed.
- No spectators allowed except for one parent/guardian/caregiver for each minor-aged participant allowed. Spectators must maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet between each person. No spectators allowed for participants 18 and older.
And here is guidance that applies to all counties:
- Stay home when sick or if a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
- Participants are required to wear masks directly before and after competition and are encouraged to wear one whenever not engaged in strenuous activity. Any spectator must wear a mask. Coaches, referees and volunteers must also wear a face covering.
- Staff, volunteers and spectators must maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet. Athletes must also maintain physical distancing when not engaged in sporting activities, huddles and team meetings.
- Athletes, coaches and referees are required to wash their hands frequently, including before and after practices.
- Surfaces that are touched frequently must be cleaned regularly, as are restrooms.
- Ventilation systems must operate properly. Circulation and ventilation should be increased as much as possible.
- Participants are encouraged to only travel with members of the same household.
- During group travel, all passengers and the driver must wear a mask and physically distance as best possible.
- A roster of every person who participated or attended an event should be kept for 28 days after the practice, competition or trip.
- Employers must specifically ensure operations follow the main Labor and Industries COVID-19 requirements to protect workers