In a surprise announcement during his Thursday May 13 press conference, Gov. Jay Inslee said Washington state's "re-open" date will be June 30th. It was unknown if Benton and Franklin County, among others, would remain in Phase 3 despite supposed rising case counts.

Part of a followup statement released by the Governor's office read as follows:

(he)..." state is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date and that all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan effective May 18 until June 30."

Sounding very much like Oregon's Governor Brown, Inslee said WA state will adopt the new CDC guidelines that fully vaccinated persons will be exempted from having to wear masks, provided they meet the required criteria for receiving them.

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His office also issued the following statement, sounding very Oregon Governor Brown-like:

"The full reopening could happen earlier than June 30 if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. Washington has administered over six million doses of vaccine, and 56 percent of Washingtonians have initiated vaccination."

On the surface, a re-open date is helpful and progress, but it's tied to certain governmental conditions; not out of a true desire to see business, the economy, education and society return to a normal pre-COVID state.

It's interesting to note that despite sticking to what he calls the state's "science and data," Inslee repeatedly has moved fast to adopt CDC changes in policies--even if they don't always concur with what state officials have been saying.

It now appears vaccination rates are the new 'barometer' for restoring normalcy to the citizens of Washington state.

MORE TO EXPLORE: See the the COVID-19 stimulus bill broken down by the numbers