OLYMPIA — In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered the state’s more than 7 million residents to stay home unless necessary and for non-essential businesses to close for at least two weeks, expanding previous orders that had already banned large gatherings and closed bars and dine-in restaurants.
As of Tuesday, more than 2,200 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state, and at least 123 people have died. Inslee said he was concerned that many weren’t taking the outbreak seriously, and said the extra measures were needed in order to save lives.
Here’s what the order means for everyday life in Washington:
STAY AT HOME: People are required to stay home unless they are involved in an essential activity like shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, or working at an essential business. Going outside, walking your dog, going for a run, biking and working in your garden are all still allowed, as long as social distancing of at least six feet is practiced when with someone who doesn’t live in the same household as you. Essential activities also include caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence, or driving a family member, friend or pet somewhere for an essential health or safety activity. All gatherings, both private and public, are banned. These include things like playing pick-up basketball at the park, parties at the beach, funerals and weddings.
BUSINESS CLOSURES: All businesses except those considered essential must close by the end of the day Wednesday, though the governor encouraged those who can do so earlier, to do so. The list of essential workforce is long, and the governor’s office has posted a document listing all of the industries and businesses covered, while noting that even more may be added. Businesses that want to clarify status, or to petition to be added to this list can email busines
Law enforcement, those in public safety, first responders, and the media as well as those who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges. While funerals are postponed for the next two weeks, workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers will continue to work. All public and private K-12 schools remain closed through late April.