Essential activities, business operations allowed to continue
Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday (March 23) issued a statewide “stay at home” order that restricts individual movement and business operations except for essential activities. The order is part of the state’s strategy for containing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
In a press release, the governor said the order bans all social, spiritual or recreational gatherings, and closes all businesses except those deemed essential. The order will last at least two weeks (through April 6) and possibly beyond, the governor said.
“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said in the press release.
The stay at home proclamation notes that “it’s still safe for people to go outside as long as they remain at least 6 feet from each other. Grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open. People can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — as long as they follow social distancing rules.”
“We’ve been very clear on the need for everyone to stay home,” Inslee said. “And, while most Washingtonians are doing their part, some still don’t grasp the seriousness of this pandemic.”
The order applies to private and public gatherings including weddings and funerals. Non-essential businesses with in-office personnel functions are required to close.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, child care facilities, gas stations, food supply chains and other things that offer people basic, crucial needs can remain open, Inslee said. Food banks are essential services that will remain in operation, the governor added. Volunteers may continue to go to work at food banks.
Allowed activities include grocery shopping and ordering take-out food from restaurants, food deliveries, attending medical appointments, going to pharmacies, gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, banks and laundromats.
Not allowed are participating in any in-person leisure, hobby or social clubs, attending or playing in sports games and practices, going to weddings or funerals, attending religious services, visiting museums, theaters, art galleries or fundraisers, going to concerts, festivals or parades, and working out at a gym or fitness center.
Essential businesses still allowed include emergency and law enforcement, health care, manufacturing, child care, food and agriculture, transportation, finance, defense, media and critical local government, such as courts.
“Our hearts ache for all of the Washingtonians and their families affected by this virus,” the governor said. “As we move forward, we cannot forget the losses they have suffered. This is a human tragedy, on a scale we cannot project. It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight. the more lives we can save; the more time we can buy to fight the waves coming down on us now and in the immediate future.”
For a full transcript of the governor’s address, visit www.governor.wa.gov/node/507185. For information about COVID-19 resources, visit www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources.