Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced a “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” order during a press conference Monday evening. This order is similar to other stay at home proclamations, like California’s, issued to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
While some may refer to this as a “shelter in place,” order, it is not. Grocery stores and other essential businesses will remain open.
It is also still safe to go outside using social distancing. Inslee encouraged individuals to go outside for walks, bike rides or to garden, so long as proper social distancing is practiced. (Just don’t go mob parks, beaches or trails folks!)
This order will last for two weeks and could be extended. This order builds upon the early and unprecedented steps taken to protect Washingtonians, including the closure of schools, restaurants, entertainment venues and other businesses where people congregate. Inslee iterated they have been thoughtful and deliberate in making these tough choices.
The governor has been very clear on the need for Washingtonians to stay home, and while most Washingtonians are doing their part, some are still not grasping the seriousness of this pandemic.
The order will:
• Require every Washingtonian to stay at home unless they are pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, or going to work at an essential business
•Ban all gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. This applies to both private and public gatherings. This applies to every type of gathering, including “some of the most deeply meaningful gatherings in communities, such as weddings and funerals,” outlines a post on Inslee’s medium page.
The order on gatherings and going out will take effect immediately.
• Close all businesses except essential businesses. All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains, and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open. Businesses and entities that provide essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.
Inslee urged that people must avoid the impulse to overstock. If everyone sticks to their normal buying habits, we’ll have enough to make sure everyone has the supplies and items they need.
•Close non-essential businesses with in-office personnel functions and other public places, with the intention to reduce social interactions where this highly contagious virus can spread.
Closing of non-essential businesses will happen 48 hours after signing the order. Many businesses can continue to operate using telework and that can and should continue.
•For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the governor’s office will provide guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.
Inslee’s medium page outlines that “if the function of your business is not listed but a business believes that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, they will be able to request designation as an essential business.”
Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.
Businesses and residents are expected to voluntarily comply, but [the Governor’s officer] will be discussing in the coming days any enforcement mechanisms if residents and businesses are not complying.
Here is Inslee’s full address:
Things likely feel chaotic and uncertain right now. It is important to remember that life will go on. Once this is all over we can go celebrate at our favorite restaurants, bars and breweries and venues to the sweet sounds of live music. But in order for that to happen we must all Stay Home, and Stay Healthy.
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