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Statewide Restrictions Announced as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb

Governor Jay Inslee announced new statewide COVID-19 restrictions during a Sunday morning press conference. The four-week set of restrictions are in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington and across the country.

A More Dangerous Position Than In March

The new restrictions put forth by Inslee come as Washington sees daily case numbers consistently increasing. Over 2,000 cases a day were reported statewide over the weekend and average cases in the state have been doubling over the past two weeks.

The current rate of those testing positive for Covid-19 in King County is 3.5% (34,537 positives out of 989,716 tests). In the last 14-days, the rate has been 5.6% (6,178 positives out of 110,877 tests). 2,834 individuals have required hospitalization and 828 have died as a result of Covid-19 (191 and 14 in the last 14-day).

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Mayor Nancy Backus gets a COVID-19 test at the Auburn COVID-19 drive-thru testing site | for the Auburn Examiner

South King County’s rates are higher. Auburn’s current Covid-19 positivity rate is 8.7% (2,130 positives from 24,426 tests). For the window of just the past 14 days, the city’s rate increased by 4%, reaching 12.5%.  Of the Auburn residents that have tested positive, 176 have been hospitalized (10 in the last 14-days) and 34 have died.

It is important to note that test results are counted toward an individual’s city and county of residence, not where their test was taken. This means the C St SE testing site being managed by VRFA is not falsely inflating Auburn’s data. Additionally, negative test counts include all negative results up to the first positive test. Positive test counts include only the first positive test for an individual.

Inslee Implements New COVID-19 Restrictions

“This spike puts us in a more dangerous position as we were in March,” Inslee said during a press conference Sunday. “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease.”

Activities not included in the modified restrictions should follow current guidance. All K-12/higher education, child care, and courts and court-related proceedings are exempt from the new restrictions.

The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.

Spot the Difference

Here are the differences between Phase 2 (what Auburn was in) and the new restrictions:

November-December 2020 Statewide Four-Week COVID-19 Restriction Guidelines

Activity/Industry Phase 2 (before)* New Restrictions* Difference
Social Gatherings
(Inside)
Can gather with up to 5 people not from your household. Prohibited w/those outside of your household.
(exception: they (a) quarantine for 14 days before the gathering; or (b) quarantine for 7 days before the gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours before the gathering.)
No longer permitted unless exceptions followed.
Social Gatherings
(outside)
Outdoor recreation limited to 12 participants. Limited to 5 people from outside your household Participant limit reduced.
Only way to gather with those outside of your household.
Weddings & Funerals 30 guests or 25% of max building capacity
whichever is less. Reception limited to 3 hours.
30 guests or 25% indoor capacity, whichever is less. No live group music. No reception. No Reception
No live group music
Religious Services
(inside)
Limited to 25% of room capacity or up to 200 people, whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing can be achieved between households.
Only soloists may perform. Congregational singing (facemasks remain on).
Limited to 25% occupancy or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Only soloists may perform. No congregational singing. No congregational singing.
In-Store Retail 30% capacity limit for guests.  25% capacity limit for guests. Remove all common area seating. No food courts. Reduction of capacity by 5%
Elimination of common area seating.
Elimination of food courts.
Restaurants/Bars Inside: limited to 25% building capacity
Outside: limited to 50% capacity.
6 people max at a table
No inside dining. Outside dining limited to 5 at a table. Indoor dining eliminated.
Personal Services** Guest occupancy at 50% or lower, with the exception of one to one service in an
enclosed room. 
Limited to 25% of maximum indoor occupancy Reduction of guest occupancy limit by 25%
Professional Services** Guest occupancy at 50% or lower, with the exception of one to one service in an
enclosed room. 
Close to the public if possible. If open to the public, occupancy limited to 25%. Mandate work from home when possible. If open to the public, reduction of occupancy limit by 25%
Fitness Facilities & Gyms 300sqft per person required for distancing  Large facilities limited to 25% building occupancy. Indoor services closed. Outdoor classes permitted, limited to outdoor gathering rules Indoor services eliminated.
Real Estate Open Houses allowed with attendee limits Open houses prohibited Open houses eliminated
Sports Sports divided into risk levels. Practice and competition permitted for all sports depending on county covid-19 rates.  No indoor sports. Outdoor sports limited to practice only. Indoor sports eliminated.
All competition eliminated.
Movie Theaters Open at 25% capacity Closed for in-door service. Drive-in theaters remain the same. Indoor services eliminated
Miscellaneous Venues Limited to business meetings, training, and testing unable to be done remotely. Indoor capacity is limited to 30% or 200 people, whichever is less. Outdoor is limited to 200 people. Retail & business meetings prohibited. Only professional training and testing permitted. Capacity limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less. Elimination of business meetings.
Capacity reduced by 5%/100
Bowling Allowed with restrictions. Indoor bowling Closed Indoor services eliminated
Museums/Zoos/Aquariums Total capacity is limited to 25 percent
No events
All indoor exhibits and buildings closed. Elimination of indoor exhibits and buildings

The state is also committing $50 million in aid to help mitigate the financial impact businesses will face with these new restrictions will.

*See state-issued requirements for full details of activity/industry specific requirements. 
**Personal services include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
**A professional service provider is typically office-based and provides services to a client, such as accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, appraisers, home inspectors, and others.

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