Hearing set Wednesday on bill to reopen small businesses; Wilson encourages testimony

Bill would move state to “Phase 2,” allowing restaurants, gyms, entertainment to reopen

OLYMPIA – On Wednesday, a bill that would launch the phased reopening of the Washington economy gets a hearing before the Senate State Government and Elections Committee, and ranking Republican member Jeff Wilson is encouraging southwest Washington residents to sign up to testify.

“People across my district have been telling me they need to get back to work,” said Wilson, R-Longview. “Olympia needs to hear about the hardship people have endured, and Wednesday’s hearing will be a great opportunity.”

Remote-testimony options have been expanded this year due to COVID precautions, making it possible to testify from home with a computer webcam setup.

Wilson is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 5114, which would move the entire state to “Phase 2” of its lockdown plan. Under Phase 2, restaurants would be allowed to reopen indoor dining under social-distancing protocols. Gyms and entertainment venues also could reopen, and other rules regarding public gatherings would be relaxed.

The bipartisan measure is sponsored by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah.

“During the brief respite we had this summer and fall, restaurants and other small businesses demonstrated they could reopen and operate safely under social-distancing guidelines,” Wilson explained. “We’re one of just three states that continues to ban indoor dining. We must be cautious, but not over-cautious. Businesses are being pushed over the brink as we speak, and already we know many will never reopen.”

The hearing starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday. To sign up to testify, click here, or use this link:


Sign-ups are open now. The sign-up period ends one hour before the hearing.