Three Washington Counties to Tighten Pandemic Rules

Αssociated Press

Governor Jay Inslee, left, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, center, and Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Issaquah, tour the mass vaccination site during the coronavirus pandemic at State Fair Park Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Yakima, Wash. (Evan Abell/Yakima Herald-Republic via AP, Pool)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Three of Washington state’s 39 counties will tighten up pandemic restrictions beginning Friday.

That means decreasing capacity for indoor dining at restaurants, retail stores and gyms from 50% to 25%. Limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be also reduced.

The counties affected are Cowlitz, Whitman and Pierce — the latter being the home of Tacoma.

New coronavirus cases and COVD-19 hospitalizations in the three counties exceeded criteria set by Gov. Jay Inslee to stay in Phase 3 of the state’s economic reopening plan.

Nearly 70 state business organizations last week had urged the governor to delay for three weeks any decision on returning any counties to more restrictive standards.