Washington Governor Jay Inslee Orders Sweeping COVID Restrictions

Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued sweeping coronavirus-related restrictions on Sunday as cases continue to rise in the state.

"Today, Sunday, November 15, 2020, is the most dangerous public health day in the last 100 years of our state's history," Inslee said during a news conference. "A pandemic is raging in our state. Left unchecked, it will assuredly result in grossly overburdened hospitals and morgues; and keep people from obtaining routine by necessary medical treatment for non-COVID conditions."

Inslee's restrictions will encompass nearly all aspects of life in the state in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. These constraints, although essential for public health, will be the most extensive list of restrictions passed since Inslee issued an emergency stay-at-home order in March.

Under Inslee's order, restaurants and bars will prohibit all indoor service and limit outdoor service to parties of five or less. Indoor gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys and museums must shut down completely.

Retail and grocery stores must limit occupancy to 25 percent, and malls are required to keep food court seating closed. Personal services, including barbershops and salons, will also be limited to 25 percent capacity.

Offices are mandated to require employees to work from home. If they cannot work from home and the office remains open, the occupancy must be limited to 25 percent and be closed to the public.

Indoor social gatherings with people outside the immediate household will be prohibited unless attendees have been quarantined for 14 days before the gathering—or have been quarantined for seven days and tested negative for COVID-19 within two days of the planned event.

Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to no more than five people from outside your household, said Inslee.

Religious services can continue. However, houses of worship must limit indoor attendance to 25 percent capacity or 2,000, whichever is less, Inslee said. Both wedding and funeral ceremonies will be limited to 30 people, and receptions are prohibited.

Inslee also noted that masks must be worn at all times, and choirs, bands and congregational singing will be prohibited.

The new order will not apply to schools of courts, which are already operating primarily remote. It will also not apply to child care, which has its own set of COVID-19 guidelines.

The full list of restrictions will go into effect at 11:59 PM PST Monday, except for restaurant and bar restrictions that will be put into effect the following night.

Inslee's order could bring another wave of economic turmoil to Washington as many businesses and employees are already struggling due to the pandemic.

"We understand that this is both an economic and a public health crisis," said Inslee. "We do not take lightly the impact these restrictions will have on local businesses, many of which have already had a very difficult year. But this much is clear: We cannot enjoy a full economic recovery before we have gotten this virus under control."

On November 3, Washington reached a record 1,469 coronavirus cases, but that number has since increased over 50 percent as of Saturday with 2,233 new cases, according to The Seattle Times.

Other states, including Iowa and North Dakota, have also instated new restrictions with the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is also expected to announce a new wave of restrictions for her state later Sunday evening.

The United States has over 10.9 million coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University, exceeding the cases reported in all other nations. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 245,900 people have died due to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Wash Covid
Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 16: Washington state governor Jay Inslee talks at a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak March 16, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the state with by far the most deaths in the U.S. from the disease. In November, Inslee issued another wave of sweeping restrictions as coronavirus cases rise in the state. Photo by Erika Schultz-Pool/Getty Images/Getty