TACOMA, Wash. – Just as Pierce County was bracing for another possible rollback to Phase 1 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery plan, Gov. Jay Insleemade an announcement giving the community hope. 

During a special address, Thursday, Inslee said all counties in Washington would move forward to Phase 3 beginning May 18. The governor said the move comes after statewide progress in the decline of COVID-19 activity and more people getting vaccinated.

The news was welcomed with wide-open arms from vendors and customers at the Tacoma Farmers Market.

“I just can’t wait to get in front of more people and just have people come and visit,” said Patrice Norwood, owner of P’OSHUN Collective.

“We’re ready, we’ve been ready. We’ve been nimble, we’ve been resilient and we’re rolling with the punches,” said Julie Davidson, owner of Komadre Kombucha.

Davidson said the timing of it all could not have been more perfect for her business. She was already planning to open a brand new store in Tacoma on Tuesday.

“I feel like I had a premonition about that, if I’m being honest. I know that my shop is small and in Phase 2 we would have been limited to only having 4.5 guests at a time. So, I’m very happy that we can double that and welcome even more of our fans into the taproom when we open,” said Davidson.

For some vendors, they said moving forward is going to save their business from going under due to the pandemic. Capacity will remain at 50% during Phase 3. Inslee said the state is also planning to fully reopen the economy on June 30.

“I feel like the economy and the people are ready to get back out there and to make money again. There’s so many small businesses struggling and people are just ready to get out and live their lives again,” said Kayla Moody while visiting the farmers market.

Pierce County has been on a rollercoaster the last few weeks. The community had to roll back to Phase 2 because of high COVID-19 cases numbers and hospitalizations. The county was also on the verge of going down to Phase 1.

“Your head starts to spin when you can’t keep track of what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do anymore and what other people around you are allowed to do, not allowed to do. It’s going to be good when rules stop having to change every 20 minutes,” said David Goldberg, co-owner of Griddler’s Gourmet Grilled Cheeses

City of Tacoma’s mayor Victoria Woodard said she appreciates the state moving in this direction. However, she is reminding the city COVID-19 case numbers are still high across Pierce County. The mayor is encouraging everyone to be responsible in protecting their health and the community.

With some restrictions lifting soon in Pierce County, some people said it’s a lift they need to help heal from the social and emotional toll of the pandemic.

“I’m ready to go out and sing karaoke again. And to be closer with some of my friends and just to have. A little bit more normalcy,” said Moody.