Governor’s decision to reimpose COVID restrictions in Pierce County is arbitrary, baffling, McCune says

OLYMPIA – Gov. Inslee’s decision to reimpose COVID restrictions in Pierce County and two other Washington counties is a backward move that will have a devastating effect on businesses and working families, says Sen. Jim McCune, R-Graham.

“Gov. Inslee keeps changing the rules and calls it science,” McCune said. “The people are fed up.”

Inslee announced Monday that Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties would return to Phase 2 of the governor’s COVID lockdown plan. The move to Phase 2 reduces indoor capacity for restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and other businesses from 50 percent to 25 percent. The rest of the state remains in Phase 3.

Inslee said the decision was based on new criteria he announced last week, and on local spikes in hospitalizations. The decree assumes COVID is being spread by business activity. McCune said it is a weak justification that punishes those who follow the rules, yet does not address the real problem.

“This arbitrary decision-making from the governor’s office puts people at risk – of losing their jobs and businesses,” McCune said. “Many families are barely hanging on. Many businesses have already closed for good. At a time when the COVID pandemic is winding down, no county should be moving backward.”

Majority Democratic lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year giving the Legislature’s COVID decision-making authority to the governor for the duration. “This is the real problem with one-man rule,” McCune said. “The people have had no voice in these decisions.

“No one has been allowed to question the governor’s assumptions. He forgets that COVID restrictions work only if the people cooperate. But these on-again, off-again restrictions don’t make sense to people who just want to put food on the table.”