Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. of Health John Wiesman announced on Thursday that beginning Monday, July 20, social gatherings in Phase 3 counties will be reduced to no more than 10 people outside a person’s household per week.
Counties in modified Phase 1 and Phase 2 remain restricted at 5 people per week.
Some gatherings that may be limited by this change include:
- Book clubs
- Parties (birthday parties, house parties, cocktail parties, etc.)
- Baby showers
- Social clubs
- Garage and estate sales
- Gatherings on beaches and in parks
These new rules do not apply to weddings or funeral services although he also said that live entertainment – both indoors and outdoors – will no longer be allowed.
The announcement comes after the state saw the highest single day increase in cases since the pandemic began back in January. The state Department of Health reported 1,292 new cases Thursday out of the 19,381 cumulative cases statewide.
In Grays Harbor, there are 58 confirmed cases, with 18 cases and 1 death in July. Pacific County has 18 confirmed cases and one death, with no cases since the beginning of July.
The seven day rolling average of new cases per day in the state, from June 26 to July 2, was 629 cases per day. This is also the highest since the pandemic began.
“The steps are necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The unfortunate truth is that we can’t let our guard down, even as we engage in more activities,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “As we inch closer to the fall, we are already on an unsustainable path in the spread of this virus. We have to change to save lives and to avoid turning the dial back further on the activities we enjoy.”
“The numbers that we are seeing reflect the interdependence we have on one another,” Wiesman said. “Everything that we do as individuals impacts our ability to move forward as a state. We can’t go safely forward until we all do our part.”
He warned that “we cannot rule out the potential for another ‘Stay Home’ order” if transmission rates don’t decrease soon.
“We don’t have a vaccine, but we do have each other,” Inslee said. “I want people to be healthy and able to live their lives. We can accomplish some of those things, if we as individuals reckon with the existential crisis of COVID-19.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.