Gov. Inslee rolls back restrictions on state for four weeks

By: 
Michael Brock
Reporter

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the state and country, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a series of statewide restrictions on Sunday that will remain in effect until Dec. 14.

“We’re facing a third wave that is trending to be more dangerous than any we have seen before,” he said during a media availability. “Inaction here is not an option. We have to take bold, decisive action and we are doing that today.”

On Saturday, a record 2,286 positive COVID-19 cases were reported in the state, while average daily cases have doubled in the last two weeks.

“We are today in a more dangerous position than we were in March when our first stay-at-home order was issued,” Inslee said. “Due to the combination of the extent of this virus — which is now throughout the state and the nation — and because of the situation we are heading into [with] the winter months.”

If left unchecked, he added, the virus will result in overburdened hospitals, prolonged economic devastation and an untold number of deaths. It will also prevent “people from receiving routine but necessary medical treatment because of the stresses our hospitals will be under.”

The governor said Washington was “largely successful relative to other states” in the spring because it acted early and had the benefit of heading into the warmer summer months, when more events are held outdoors. He referred to the indoors as the virus’s “home arena.”

“The time has come to reinstate some of the restrictions on activities statewide to preserve our wellbeing and to save lives,” Inslee said. “Now, the choices we are announcing today are not easy ones, I can tell you that. But I do believe they are the right choices given the threat that we face.”

Most of the restrictions went into effect late Monday evening, while the restaurant modifications take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. Exempt from the new restrictions are all K-12/higher education, health care and childcare, which will continue following current guidance.

According to the guidance page for the proclamation, found on Gov. Inslee’s website, “From midnight on Monday, November 16 through Monday, December 14, all counties in Washington rollback to the restrictions outlined below.”

Restrictions

  • Indoor social gatherings: Prohibited with anyone from outside your household, unless they (a) quarantine for 14 days before the gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven days before the gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 result less than 48 hours before the gathering.
  • Outdoor social gatherings: Limited to five people from outside your household.
  • In-store retail (including grocery stores): Limited to 25% indoor capacity. Common seating areas and indoor food courts must close.
  • Restaurants/Bars: Indoor dine-in service is closed for restaurants and bars. To-go orders and outdoor seating is still allowed, however table size is limited to five people.
  • Fitness facilities and gyms: Indoor operations are closed. Outdoor fitness classes are still allowed, but may not exceed five people from outside your household as they are considered outdoor social gatherings.
  • Religious Services: Limited to 25% indoor occupancy limits, OR less than 200 people, whichever is fewer. According to the release: Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, applicable to the structure or facility.”
  • Professional Services: Close offices to the public if possible/mandate employees to work from home when possible. Offices that remain open are limited to 25% indoor capacity.
  • Personal Services (cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hair stylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists): Limited to 25% indoor capacity.
  • Weddings and Funerals: Ceremonies are allowed, but are limited to 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
  • Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are allowed. Indoor visits are not allowed, however exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted.
  • Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities as well as all contests and games are not allowed. Outdoor activities are limited to only intra-team practices, as long as all coaches, volunteers and athletes wear facial coverings.
  • Bowling centers: Indoor service is closed.
  • Movie theaters: Closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still allowed.
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums: Closed for indoor service.
  • Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
  • Miscellaneous venues (convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue): All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

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