Okanogan County has closed all overnight lodging — hotels, campgrounds and RV parks, bed-and-breakfasts, time-shares, and nightly rentals — to safeguard the public and county residents from COVID-19.
The resolution by the Okanogan County commissioners and County Health Officer John McCarthy went into effect at 8 a.m. on Tuesday (April 14) and will remain in effect until further notice.
The commissioners and health officers determined that the steps are necessary to limit tourism and overnight travel to the county “to control the spread of a dangerous disease” that spreads easily.
The ruling doesn’t apply to anyone who has been staying in one of the county’s lodging facilities since March 17 or earlier.
The resolution includes exceptions for hospital employees and others working directly on COVID response, such as health care providers, first responders, and the National Guard. It also permits anyone who is required to travel to Okanogan County to make deliveries, such as truck drivers, to stay overnight.
The order will be posted on the Okanogan County Public Health website. State parks, campgrounds, and local lodging facilities are asked to post it on their premises and online.
A violation of the order is a misdemeanor and can result in the loss of a permit to operate an overnight accommodation. Law enforcement officers will ensure compliance and enforcement.
If any part of the order is found to be unconstitutional, the rest of the order remains in effect.
Other counties, including Chelan and Pacific, have adopted similar orders, Okanogan County Community Health Director Lauri Jones said at the county’s Board of Health meeting on Tuesday (April 14).