Legislative Republicans announce ‘Open Safe, Open Now’ reopening plan

Despite repeated requests from the press, legislators and citizens, Governor Jay Inslee has not yet identified a Phase 3 plan to re-open the state’s economy. So legislative Republicans say they’ll do it instead for the citizens of the state. John Sattgast reports.

With no plan forward, House and Senate Republicans say there’s no hope. That’s why they’ve announced, “Open Safe, Open Now,” a Republican plan for Phase 3 and beyond.

During a virtual press conference Thursday, Republican legislative leaders say the state would immediately move into Phase 3, returning all students to their classrooms and re-opening much of Washington’s economy to 50 percent capacity.

Colfax Representative Joe Schmick, ranking Republican on the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, says Washingtonians have paid a high price for being isolated in their homes for nearly a year and not moving forward:

“There’s a cost to staying where we’re at. So do we advocate safely? Yes!  Masks, wash your hands, social distance when possible. But we’ve been doing this for a year. We can move ahead. We know how to do it safely.”

With vaccines, masks and social distancing, House Republican Leader Representative J.T. Wilcox says it’s time to act now:

“We need to be responsible. We need to recognize the costs of this equation. And I’m proud of the House and Senate Republicans who are working hard on this.”

The plan abandons the governor’s regional approach and allows county health departments to determine if their counties are ready for Phase 4, which is 100 percent reopening. That, Republicans say, could happen as soon as three weeks if there are no significant spikes in COVID hospitalizations.