Governor announces 4-week statewide restrictions
Providence Dr. George Diaz: 'This is absolutely the right time to take action'
Last updated 11/18/2020 at 9:30pm
Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday, Nov. 15, announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country.
The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.
Activities not included in the modified restrictions should follow current guidance. All K-12/higher education, child care, and courts and court-related proceedings are exempt from the new restrictions.
"This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March," Inslee said during a news conference. "And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public's well-being and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people's livelihoods. I recognize that and don't take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease."
The restrictions are statewide and will take effect 11:50 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, and will remain in effect until Monday, Dec. 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. Businesses can also apply for Paycheck Protection Plan forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration, or from their local bank.
If workers are kept in their jobs, the loans aren't required to be paid back.
"This is absolutely the right time to take action," said Dr. George Diaz, an Edmonds resident and infectious disease physician at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.
"It will save the lives of many Washingtonians, provide relief to our most precious resources, which are our frontline health-care workers, and allow us to continue to provide the full array of medical and surgical care that our state needs."
Indoor gatherings have been one of the biggest driving factors of COVID-19 spikes in Washington and nationwide, Inslee said. Because of this, indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for the 14 days prior to the social gathering or quarantine for the seven days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48 hours prior to the gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.
For long-term care facilities, only outdoor visits will be allowed. Indoor visits may be permitted for essential support persons or end-of-life care.
Restaurants and retail
Restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service, with to-go services and restricted outdoor dining allowed.
In-store retail, grocery stores and personal services are limited to 25% of occupancy and must close any congregate areas.
Religious services will be limited to 25% indoor capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, and choirs, bands or ensembles are prohibited from performing.
Wedding and funeral ceremonies can go on with limited attendance, but receptions of any size are prohibited indoors.
Entertainment and fitness
Indoor service will be closed at fitness facilities and gyms, and youth and adult amateur sporting activities are limited to outdoors only with facial coverings.
Bowling alleys, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theaters will be closed for indoor services.
"We understand that this is both an economic and a public health crisis. We do not take lightly the impact these restrictions will have on local businesses, many of which have already had a very difficult year. You are not alone, and we will continue to provide supports," Inslee said.
"There is light at the end of this tunnel. We will continue to fight, adapt and persevere. It may be months before we're totally out of the clear, but medical advances are putting us closer to the goal of restoring all activities eventually. For now, we have to keep everyone's interests in mind and take steps that protect all Washingtonians."
Is your Mill Creek business impacted by new restrictions? Contact Mill Creek Beacon Editor, Jana Hill, at [email protected] to schedule an interview.
[An announcement of the event was posted the evening of Nov. 14, 2020]
More restrictions are anticipated in an 11 a.m. event tomorrow morning, on tvw.org, to rein in the infection rate for COVID-19, in Washington State.
See the event here: https://bit.ly/35ysfPa
Gov. Jay Inslee will be joined by Dr. George Diaz, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, and King County Executive Dow Constantine for an update on the state's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event comes on tail of a fireside-chat style announcement before the weekend rolled in, in which Inslee, was accompanied by First Lady Trudi to encourage remote Thanksgiving events. The Inslees spoke on a day that would be the first for a 14-day quarantine, clearly timed for those unwilling to avoid gatherings on Thanksgiving.
Infection rates are higher than they were in March, when Inslee issued a shutdown of all but essential functions, around the state. Essential functions at the time were circled around accessing food and medical care. The intent is to preserve hospital resources to assure access for patients who suffer from serious cases of COVID-19 that require hospitalization, as well as those needing emergency care for other issues such as heart attacks, car wrecks, and other hospital-based services.
The department of health reports 11,158 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Snohomish County, as well as 992 hospitalizations and 247 deaths. More information on state data around the virus is here: doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/DataDashboard