Clark County is adjusting to the new normal following Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. The governor ordered the state’s more than 7 million residents to stay home, unless necessary, and for nonessential businesses to close for at least two weeks.
Monday’s order expanded on a previous directive that banned large gatherings and closed bars and dine-in restaurants. The governor said he was concerned many weren’t taking the outbreak seriously, after people over the weekend flocked to beaches and other outdoor attractions. The extra measures, he said, were needed in order to save lives.
Since his orders, traffic on Interstates 5 and 205 has been noticeably lighter. There’s abundant parking in downtown Vancouver. Many offices sit empty as employees work from home.
People are required to stay home unless they are involved in an essential activity, such as shopping for groceries, going to a medical appointment or working at an essential business.
An “essential worker” is one who works in a select industry that maintains the critical structure of society in Washington.
The sectors include: health care and public health; emergency services, which includes law enforcement, first responders and Public Works; food and agriculture; energy; waste and wastewater; transportation and logistics; communications and IT; community-based government operations and essential functions, which includes the courts and construction workers; critical manufacturing; hazardous materials; financial services; chemical; and defense industrial base.
Each category has a long list of specific jobs that are considered essential. The full list can be found at www.coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business.
On Tuesday, many local agencies and groups took proactive steps to show what they’re doing to comply with the restrictions. The Columbian’s staff checked on a few of the key areas to see what was happening.