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Statewide school closures, ban on gatherings due to COVID-19

Governor Jay Inslee announced the containment measures during a news conference March 13

Series: Coronavirus | Story 7

Last updated 3/23/2020 at 4:02pm

All public and private K-12 schools in Washington state will be closed Tuesday, March 17 through April 24, according to Gov. Jay Inslee during a news conference Friday, March 13 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The closure affects 1.2 million students and more than 360,000 teachers.

Schools were required to close by the end of the day Monday, March 16 and remain closed until April 24. The first day students would be back in class would be April 27, although that may not happen if the closure is extended. On March 12, the governor had only instituted the school closures in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, those hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 16, Inslee signed a proclamation calling for all bars, restaurants, entertainment, and recreational facilities to close due to the outbreak. They are allowed to reopen March 31. Grocery stores and pharmacies were allowed to stay open, and retail stores were allowed to stay open if they reduced their capacity. Restaurants were allowed to do take-out or delivery service only.

Groups of 50 or more people were also prohibited; groups of less than 50 people were only allowed to go on if they followed certain hygiene and social distancing measures.

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges," Inslee said in a statement.

State Department of Health data as of March 18 listed 1,187 positive cases of COVID-19 and 66 deaths. Snohomish County had 310 positive cases and six deaths.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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