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Celebrate the state’s reopening, but make safe decisions to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Happy Reopening Day! 

Today is a big day in Washington! 

After more than a year of pandemic-related restrictions, businesses and restaurants in Pierce County are returning to full capacity. Doors to churches and other gathering places are swinging wide to welcome everyone back in.

Certainly, reopening gives us all a reason to celebrate. For more than a year, we missed milestones and smiles, art and entertainment, but most of all, we missed being together. 

Hope

But the reopening celebration does not mean the challenge is over.

Over 40% of eligible Pierce County residents still need vaccine, which means people are still vulnerable to catching the virus and being hospitalized. 

Children under 12 and people with certain medical conditions cannot receive vaccine, so they are counting on those of us who can to get vaccinated.

With more Delta variant in our community, the risk of more, severe infections are possible. The only way to prevent this spread is more fully vaccinated people. 

Over 99% of the people who died from COVID-19 in May in the U.S. were unvaccinated. Nearly every death is preventable. 

For these reasons, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department continues the effort to get everyone vaccinated and protected.

New guidance, but same need to protect our community.

Today the state changed guidance on masks, physical distancing and capacity limitations. Large indoor gatherings of 10,000 or more are still limited to 75% capacity.

We’ve made changes to our webpages to reflect the new guidance, to tell you about many of these changes on our website, and we will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead.

But lifting restrictions on businesses and changing guidance doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. We all must keep doing our part to stop the spread of the virus:

These actions protect us all—especially those who are not vaccinated, like children who are not yet eligible.

When to mask up.

While those who are fully vaccinated already enjoy mask-free living in many settings, masks are still required in healthcare settings, childcare facilities, camps, K-12 schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and on public transportation.

Businesses and local governments can also choose to keep mask requirements in place. For example, our building officially reopens for in-person services July 1, and masks will be required. See the updated mask guidance from the state.

But, if you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors or in many indoor settings. Our best advice? Wherever you go, follow the rules of the room you’re in.

Hope and vigilance.

With more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, case counts are declining. Hope and excitement are in the air, but there is still work to be done.

Health Department staff continues to respond to cases, support testing, and help people find vaccinations. And we’re here to answer any questions if you have them. Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help!

The vaccine is the most effective tool we have against COVID-19, even against new variants of the virus.

Find your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can register online or just drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated without an appointment.

Today we celebrate an important milestone, but we must continue to follow all the important steps to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can do this!