In an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered "restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities" across the state to temporarily shutter, effective Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., according to a statement released Sunday evening.
Restaurants will still be able to deliver takeout, and drive-thrus are okay. Grocery stores and pharmacies can stay open, but "other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy."
Inslee is also banning gatherings of over 50 people statewide, and gatherings with under 50 people must follow strict social distancing guidelines.
Inslee will sign the proclamation mandating these measurers on Monday, but King County will enforce these actions "immediately."
The Governor offered no timeline in the statement, but said he'll lay out the details in the morning.
In another statement, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a similar order that adds to Inslee's list. In addition to restaurants and bars, his order closes all "social or recreational venues" in King County—such as gyms, theaters, dance halls—through March 31.
"It is time, right now, for people to assume that they and everyone they meet is infected, to avoid any unnecessary interactions that might lead to further infection, and to wait and monitor to see if they have in fact been infected so that they can isolate and recover without presenting a risk to others," Constantine said.
“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus," Inslee said. "I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan acknowledged the hard hit to businesses and workers, but said implementing such measures were "the right thing to do for the long-term health, safety, and vitality of our communities." Durkan pointed to a recent study from the Institute for Disease Modeling showing exponential increases in infections and loss of life if we do nothing.
On Sunday the Washington Department of Health confirmed a total of 769 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 42 dead. That's an increase of 127 cases and two deaths since Saturday.
Inslee's announcement comes on the day Illinois, Ohio, California, and New York enacted similar measures to flatten the curve, which we have to do so fewer people will die of the virus.
However, if I may be so bold, in the words of my favorite drag artist:
I've left a message with Inslee's office regarding enforcement measures any updates on relief funding conversations, and I'll update this post when I hear back.
Last week King County officials said they "will not be actively searching for violations," but you can narc on large gatherings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.