UPDATE March 16, 2020 – Inslee makes it official
Gov. Jay Inslee announced today an emergency proclamation that mandates the immediate two-week closure of all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as additional limits on large gatherings. The new orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will be in place through March 31.
The announcement comes after the recent spike in numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state and across the country.
“If we are living a normal life, we are not doing our jobs as Washingtonians,” Inslee said. “We cannot do that anymore. We need to make changes, regardless of size. All of us need to do more. We must limit the number of people we come in contact with. This is the new normal.”
Inslee made the announcement in Seattle with King County Executive Dow Constantine and other local and health leaders via streaming and telephone to practice social distancing measures.
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.
Inslee statement on statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars and limits on size of gatherings expanded
Restaurants limited to take out and deliveries only
“Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation tomorrow to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities.
“Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted.
“The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy.
“Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.
“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.
“Tonight, after consultations with me and with the Department of Health, King County announced that they will be taking these actions immediately. King County has been the hotbed of this outbreak and has the largest population center in the state. I have spoken to Executive Dow Constantine and I applaud their decision to act quickly. We will do a joint media announcement with more details tomorrow morning.”