Republican lawmakers in Washington State are proposing a "Phase 3" plan, citing that Governor Jay Inslee has not yet laid out what is next for all regions in Washington State who are in Phase 2.
The GOP refers to their plan as "Open Safe, Open Now: The Republican plan for Phase 3 and Beyond"
Phase 3 of their plan would have all K-12 students immediately return to the in-person learning, while following safety protocols set by the CDC. It would also see the hospitality industry, professional services, indoor weddings and religious services, and gyms would be open to 50% capacity.
The GOP says that in their plan, all counties in the state would move to Phase 3 immediately. Then after three weeks, all counties would immediately move into their Phase 4, which open the state 100%.
Additionally, if a county's health jurisdiction determines that their county is not prepared to move on to the next phase, under this plan they would have to demonstrate why that is based on case rate trends, hospital admission rates, ICU bed capacity, and virus positivity rate.
"As the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations declines," The GOP says in their presentation of their plan, "The state must trust the people of Washington to demonstrate personal responsibility and do what is necessary to get children back in school and people back to work."
The Governor's office heavily criticized the plan the Republicans put forward, calling it "political rhetoric with bullet points."
In a statement, they criticize the plan put forth by state Republicans, saying that it lacks scientific justification for the change in plans.
"This plan would undoubtedly lead to a rebound in COVID activity," the statement reads, "More people would suffer as a result. It is not a serious proposal."
Here is the statement from the Governor's officer in its entirety.
This is not a plan. It’s political rhetoric with bullet points.
I see no scientific justification for their logic; false assumptions about what the governor’s authority is or isn’t; and a truckload of motivated reasoning that would walk this state backwards into a disaster.
For example, school reopenings. The governor has been very active this year trying to encourage schools to reopen using state COVID reopening guidelines that are backed up by the CDC. He has traveled across the state to different districts to see for himself and encourage more reopenings. Have these lawmakers been doing that? Either way, the governor’s office does not have the constitutional authority to reopen schools.
It also calls the regional plan “failed” but failed by what metric? They don’t say. We think lower cases, hospitalizations and deaths are a sign of success, not failure. We think making decisions based on the best scientific analysis available is a good idea; their plan appears to be based on one single data point that does not paint a full picture of the scope of this pandemic.
Nowhere in this does it address masks, social distancing or hygiene. The only part of the plan that discusses science-based mitigation refers to schools.
This plan would undoubtedly lead to a rebound in COVID activity. More people would suffer as a result. It is not a serious proposal.