Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)

Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Gov. Jay Inslee eased a slew of restrictions Tuesday (Oct. 6) that will allow dining indoors with friends, browsing book racks in libraries and getting served in bars a little bit later into the night.

The new rules, which come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide, will permit alcohol sales in bars and restaurants up to 11 p.m. in counties, like King County, that are in Phase 2 of Inslee’s four-stage reopening plan. In addition, eateries will be able to seat as many as six at a table and a requirement they all be from the same household is being eliminated.

Other guidance issued Tuesday allows movie theaters and libraries to operate at 25% capacity for counties in the second phase with theaters moving to 50% capacity in the third phase.

And, the revisions will clear a path for a resumption of some high school sports and the return of real estate open houses for small numbers of people depending on a county’s stage of reopening.

“We wanted to do target things to show we can do things in a safe way,” Inslee said at an afternoon news conference.

Youth sports is an area with some notable changes. Whether a sport is allowed, and to what degree athletes can compete, depends on a combination of the risk category for the sport as listed in the guidance and the presence of COVID in the county in which it is to take place. The latter element is determined by the number of COVID cases per 100,000 residents in a two-week span.

For example, in counties with between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000, such as King County (which is at 53.9), league games will be allowed for low risk sports of tennis, swimming, and track and field, and moderate risk sports of softball, baseball, soccer and volleyball. Scrimmages and intrasquad competitions for high risk sports like football are allowed too. In all instances no spectators are allowed.

The changes come amid an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases statewide. Inslee said he’s hoping the upward surge is temporary and a result of Labor Day gatherings and people spending more time indoors due to days of smoky skies. With those past, he’s counting on residents getting “back on track knocking the numbers down again.”

“We want to recognize the progress we’ve made. We want to celebrate it,” he said of the relaxed rules. “We think it’s the right thing to do because we have found the right way to do these things safely. “

As of Oct. 6, King County has reported 23,268 positive cases of COVID-19 along with 769 deaths. Of those positive cases, the county reports that 1,673 came in the past two weeks.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

File Photo
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

The Monroe Correctional Complex on April 9, 2020. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Formerly incarcerated people regain right to vote in Washington

Rights restored immediately upon release.

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Salmon update: King County wants cleaner water, more habitat

Salmon and orcas are in the spotlight once again as King County… Continue reading

Guns seized during April 7 arrests (photo credit: Dept. of Justice)
More than 20 arrested across the Puget Sound in drug distribution conspiracy

DOJ says law enforcement agencies seized over 70 guns and hundreds of thousands in cash.

Kindergarten and first grade students line up outside of Panther Lake Elementary in Federal Way on March 15. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
Inslee: K-12 schools can reduce COVID social distancing

The governor reduced social distancing requirements for K-12 classrooms from 6 feet to 3 feet.

Sound Publishing file photo
More people can get the COVID vaccine on March 31, but supply is still limited

The number of people eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is set… Continue reading

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (Wikimedia Commons)
Insurers told to stop using credit scores to set rates

A ban of that practice will be in place until the pandemic is over, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says.

Bellevue police standoff. File photo
Eastside police agencies form independent use of force investigation team

Agencies from Snoqualmie to Mercer Island, along with the King County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol, are slated to be part of it.

Rendered design for Together Center complex (Photo credit: Together Strong)
Ground broken on unprecedented model for affordable housing, health and social services in Redmond

Together Center promises 280 affordable housing units and over 20 service providers on-site.