YAKIMA — Yakima County has been approved to advance to Phase 2, meaning movie theaters and restaurants owners will move to 50% capacity and libraries and museums will be open to 25% capacity.

Governor Jay Inslee made the announcement during his weekly brief held Tuesday, Oct. 13, saying the county has met the Safe Start requirements for moving into Phase 2, allowing for more activities.

“While Safe Start still remains paused, there has been a leveling out in COVID risk between these counties and the rest of the state since the pause took effect in July,” Inslee declared. Also moving to Phase 2 are Benton, Franklin, Douglas and Chelan counties.

“Under the circumstances, the governor believes it is appropriate to align these 5 counties with the rest of the region,” Inslee’s office said.

Yakima County had one of the highest case rates in the state. Inslee stated the county went from 753 cases per 100,000 newly diagnosed cases in two weeks at its highest point to 93 cases per 100,000 cases this week.

Under Phase 2, the counties will be allowed to resume some adult and youth sports as well as outdoor recreation with more than 12 people. Restaurants, wedding services and other businesses will allow more capacity at venues in this phase

“We are ready for Phase 2,” Yakima County Commissioner Vicki Baker declared.

County Commissioners credit for this success to non-stop negotiations with state health officials and the Governor’s Office.

“I have been pushing the Governor’s office for months, fighting for our County to safely reopen,” Baker said.

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