Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) and Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) released this statement today in response to the business reopening metrics announced Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee:

“Gov. Inslee’s recent change to the Roadmap to Recovery has left Clallam and Jefferson counties at a standstill for no good reason. This new plan relies on inconsistent metrics and an overly broad, regional approach for decision-making that does not reward the citizens and businesses in Clallam and Jefferson who have faithfully complied with the governor’s orders.

“This regional approach takes away local input and decisions and ignores local health officer’s science-based knowledge. Transmission and case-rate metrics in Clallam and Jefferson counties prove we have worked well to control the COVID-19 pandemic and have a firm grasp on this situation. However, when grouped with widely dissimilar counties in an arbitrarily drawn region, our success is ignored.

“Throughout this entire pandemic, we have stood behind Gov. Inslee’s efforts and supported the often-difficult decisions he has had to make. We realize the value of a unified response and consistent messaging that reduces confusion, and we were proud to be a part of that approach.

“With these latest moves, however, we have lost faith that the governor is on a course to safely open Washington and beat COVID-19. He is reopening hot-spot counties based on poorly designed metrics that leave low-rate counties closed. This plan’s senseless punishment of counties with low COVID-19 rates leaves us no choice but to speak out in opposition.

“This is not a position we take lightly. But it is clear that the governor’s plan exhibits a disastrous disconnect with the realities of our communities and, as their elected representatives, we must demand a reopening plan that is fair and sound. The current plan is neither.

“We commend our constituents’ continued efforts to stop the spread of this deadly virus and we are committed to honor their sacrifices by insisting on a recovery strategy that will solve this crisis sensibly and fairly.”