Four weeks of new statewide restrictions begin this week in response to the recent spread of COVID-19 virus in Washington.
In an address on Sunday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that the restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14.
Modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.
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.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” Inslee said during a press conference Sunday. “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.”
- Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
- Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household.
- Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
- Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
- Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
- Miscellaneous Venues: 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.
- Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
- Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.
- Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
- Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
- Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
- In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
- Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer.
- 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, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
- Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
- Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
- Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
- Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted.
- These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
- Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all time.
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.
“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.”
Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine, released a statement on Sunday, following Gov. Inslee’s announcement .
“With Governor Inslee’s announcement this morning, the Employment Security Department stands ready to assist any affected Washington workers while we all strive to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Whether customers need to restart their claim or are coming to us for the first time, all the information they need can be found at esd.wa.gov. While there will always be new challenges to address, we have learned much throughout this crisis that will help in the weeks and months ahead. We have updated our information, increased our staff, clarified claimant questions and upgraded our technology to handle this demand.”
The full proclamation is available here.
The full guidance page is available here.
You can watch the full press conference on TVW here.