COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted, state reopening

City offering incentives to get vaccinated; masks still required in medical facilities

VICTORIA GIOMI, Evergreen reporter

Pullman is preparing to lift almost all COVID-19 related restrictions after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state’s reopening on June 30.

All restaurants and businesses will be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity, said Marie Dymkoski, Pullman Chamber of Commerce executive director. It is up to each business owner to decide whether to require masks.

CJ Robert, Pups and Cups owner, said she will not require masks for customers and employees who are vaccinated.

“We’re still requiring that anyone that hasn’t been vaccinated … still wear a mask, anyone that is vaccinated, sweet, don’t have to wear one. That’s the whole point of why we got vaccines in the first place,” she said.

Robert plans to maintain her cleaning and disinfecting regimen even though pandemic restrictions are being loosened.

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said there are many advantages to being vaccinated once restrictions are lifted, but there is still a lot of pushback. 

“There are people that don’t want to have a vaccine here. That happens in every single community,” he said. “We are hoping to get 70 percent vaccination rate in the state of Washington. Seattle is already there; we’re certainly not there in Whitman County.” 

Johnson said he hopes everyone in Pullman makes the decision to get vaccinated so the community can gather again and businesses can make up for the lost time. 

Dymkoski said the Chamber of Commerce is working hard to vaccinate people and has an incentive for inoculated people in Pullman. 

Anyone that was vaccinated in Pullman after June 10 will receive a $50 Visa gift card, she said. The chamber distributed around 200 gift cards and still has 1,000 left.

The only people required to wear masks after restrictions are lifted are those who work in a medical facility, said Alison Weigley, Pullman Regional Hospital director of external relations.

“As of now, masks are still required in health care facilities, and Pullman Regional Hospital is following that guideline in all patient care areas,” Weigley said. “We have more than 500 employees, and at least 75 percent of our employees are fully vaccinated at this point.”

After June 30, PRH will allow two guests or both parents for underage patients and one guest for patients over the age of 18, she said.

“The Emergency Department is the same,” she said. “One chaperone or support person unless it’s a pediatric emergency patient. In that case, that’s two chaperones, you know, parents or guardians.”

 PRH asks that all guests wear masks inside the facility regardless of if they are vaccinated or not, Weigley said.