Braun disappointed by governor’s failure to define next phase of economic restart

OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, offered this statement today after Gov. Jay Inslee indicated Phase 3 of the “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan will not be defined for several more weeks.

“It looks like our entire state has hit a dead end on the governor’s roadmap. His administration has already had seven weeks to figure out what Phase 3 could look like, but now he says it will take several more weeks to ‘gather information’ before deciding what’s next. We should have had the details about Phase 3 already.

“Governor Inslee gave the impression that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions and other metrics tied to the roadmap may no longer be as relevant. Instead he’s talking about the variants of the virus, and the capability of the vaccines, as though those have become more important. The businesses that are now stuck indefinitely in Phase 2 – which is half as open as they could be four months ago – deserve more clarity than he offered today.

“The governor continues to speak of using ‘science’ in deciding how the regions of our state can move forward, and what that would mean. I would steer him toward the empirical kind of science, meaning he should go and visit some of the businesses affected by his restrictions. Then he can see for himself how they are prepared to take all the precautions necessary to protect their customers and employees, and safely move to a higher level of business activity.

“I’ve been encouraged that the governor is visiting schools to talk about how students can return to classrooms safely. Next time he should also stop by a local restaurant or two, or a fitness center, and gather information. That could help him to define Phase 3 sooner than April.”