‘It’s incredibly demoralizing’: Spokane prepares to go back to Phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many Washington counties are struggling to meet the state’s metrics to remain in Phase 3. Spokane is one of the counties on the verge of getting moved back to Phase 2 which will affect nearly every aspect of people’s lives.

If the county is rolled back, retail, dining, fitness centers and all indoor gatherings will go back to 25% capacity. Outdoor gatherings will also be limited to 200 guests. Youth Sport facilities will also have to cancel tournaments. It’s a sad reality for Jared Tikker who runs The Warehouse.

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“We’re heartbroken about it because there was a sense of optimism amongst the kids that play in these tournaments that after 12 months they finally got something back that they loved,” Tikker said.

Youth sports teams were able to resume tournaments on March 22. Before, they were only able to hold team practices. Tikker says this setback will just force parents to take their kids out of state to play sports again.

“The ones that have the means to seek it out, they’ll seek it out out-of-state, but then that just leaves behind the teams that aren’t able to travel out-of-state and play in tournaments,” Tikker said.

He says this will further widen the equity gaps in youth sports. The Warehouse will have to cancel tournaments they have planned for the next three weeks, which will affect 200 local sports teams.

Another organization working to help Spokane get back to a sense of normalcy is the Downtown Spokane Partnership. The group aims to revitalize and bring economic growth back to downtown Spokane after the shutdowns. Mark Richard, the President and CEO, says this will continue to be a blow to recovery.

“It’s incredibly demoralizing,” said Richard, “people on this complete rollercoaster of emotions and financial well being and mental health and everything else.”

He says the governor isn’t taking all these measures into account when rolling back counties. The Downtown Spokane Partnership, along with Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, released a letter to Governor Inslee asking him to keep Spokane County in Phase 3.

The metrics the county isn’t meeting are based on COVID hospitalizations and cases. Spokane has to either have less than 200 cases per 100,00 people over two weeks or less than 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in a week.

Richard says businesses are constantly working to protect patrons and says these environments are safe. He says shutting them down will only cause more spikes because people will gather in places which aren’t as safe.

“Why on earth would we punish the businesses when they’ve gone to such great lengths to keep people safe and where the data shows they’re safe?” he asked.

You can see Washington’s Road to Recovery outline and what each phase means here.

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