‘Spokane is back’; Gov. Inslee visits Spokane to celebrate reopening

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Governor Jay Inslee was in Spokane to celebrate the city’s reopening after long year of pandemic lockdowns.

“We know in Washington, when we pull together we get there together, and we are here together today reopening Spokane and I’m excited to do it,” said Inslee.

June 30 marks the end of Washington’s Safe Start plan—all COVID restrictions have been lifted as the state closes in on 70% vaccinations.

“It is a joy to be here on behalf of seven-million Washingtonians to say that Eastern Washington is back,” said Inslee. “We’re back in our restaurants tonight, 100%… we’re back in our theaters, we’re back enjoying our backyard barbecues—most importantly for me, we are back with the highest point of civilization, and that is Hoopfest!”

Dr. Benjamin Arthurs of MultiCare Rockwood Clinic said his feeling is that they have gotten back to a state that is a little more routine, and COVID is not a major issue in his ICU right now.

Inslee thanked Spokane’s frontline workers, first responders, retail employees, city staff and Spokanites for their work getting vaccinated.

“We know why we are able to be back,” said Inslee. “It’s because the heroism and the professionalism of folks, the people who have been committed to their neighborhoods.”

Inslee said getting vaccinated is still incredibly important in beating COVID-19 and its variants for good, but for now, it is time to start getting life back to normal.

“We are here together today, reopening Spokane,” said Inslee. “We are coming back, ready to take off.”

He also spoke about the sacrifices businesses have made throughout the pandemic, saying it was an extremely difficult for them and what they did saved lives.

Even though businesses can now operate at full capacity, not all can do this because many are having trouble finding employees. Inslee said there will be a period of transition, and what they can do through their Employment Security Department is try to line people up with jobs.

“We want to get back. We want restaurants open. We want Hoopfest open and I believe we can do those safely right now,” he said.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee to commemorate end of statewide COVID restrictions with visit to Spokane Wednesday