What loosened COVID-19 restrictions mean for Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced loosened COVID-19 restrictions for several industries Tuesday.

That means movie theaters are open and restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol an hour later, too.

Some of the loosened restrictions mean different things for counties across Washington, though. It depends on what phase counties are in, and what the case numbers are at.

Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County’s health officer, says the loosened restrictions for restaurants is a good thing for them since the industry has been struggling.

Lutz says 95 percent of restaurants are doing the right thing. It’s the other five percent of restaurants not following the rules.

“I really don’t want to punish the ones that are doing the right thing for those that aren’t I think some loosening is very appropriate, acknowledging that if we find that it’s too much, then we pull back,” he said.

He added that if more people start testing positive for the virus with the loosened restrictions, it’s possible more restrictions could come in the future.

The new guidelines are not so simple for when kids can play sports again.

Low risk sports such as tennis, swimming and golf are allowed right now. However, football, soccer and basketball are not allowed for quite some time, at least in Spokane County. No fans are allowed until a county sees fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people over a two week period.

Spokane County continues to be in the 190 to 200 range; it’s been like that since mid-September.

“If I can use our last big peak, spike, as a template, it took us a little over two months to get us through that,” he said.

As we head into the colder months, it concerns Dr. Lutz. Being indoors increases the risk of the virus spreading.

He says he and his team will be working on helping people hopefully combat the spread as the holiday season comes.

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