This kind of thing is not allowed anymore.
This kind of thing is not allowed anymore. Courtesy of Liz Dunn

A ban on live entertainment across the state went into effect yesterday—even outdoor entertainment. According to the governor's office, "The announcement comes after the state saw the highest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began back in January," which happened last Thursday.

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Outdoor transmission appears to be rare, but any kind of activity that brings people together poses some risk. "Local health jurisdictions are... beginning to see what they believe as the first signs of an uptick in cases caused by Fourth of July celebrations," the governor's office says.

Liz Dunn, a local leader who just created a Message to the City to promote a free outdoor music series behind Chophouse Row, confirms to The Stranger that that series is now canceled.

She was creating that Message to the City right as the governor was announcing the new changes.

"We started doing the concerts in early June," Dunn says. The concerts were held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons.

"Initially we didn’t do any promotion at all because the musicians just wanted to try out the whole situation. Then once we realized how lovely it was going to be, we started gently promoting and getting about 15 to 20 super appreciative listeners for each one."

Listeners would sit in socially distanced clumps and buy take-out food and beverages from all the little shops in Chophouse Row, "which was obviously hugely helpful to them," says Dunn, their landlord.

"So really I’m super bummed for everyone involved as it seemed like an amazing win-win-win, and very low-risk. But oh well—we’re now on pause until something shifts."

In addition to the ban on outdoor entertainment, the governor has changed the number of individuals allowed in social gatherings during Phase 3. It will be reduced from 50 people to 10 people. The governor says that counties in Phase 2 may continue to have social gatherings of up to five people.

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Funerals, weddings, and religious activities are exempt from the new rules, but the governor's list of other activities "that may be limited by this change" include:

• book clubs [although not The Stranger's book club, because that happens over Zoom!]
• barbecues
• picnics
• parties (birthday parties, house parties, cocktail parties, etc.)
• baby showers
• social clubs
• garage and estate sales
• gatherings on beaches and in parks

"The steps are necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19," Inslee says. "The unfortunate truth is that we can’t let our guard down, even as we engage in more activities. As we inch closer to the fall, we are already on an unsustainable path in the spread of this virus. We have to change to save lives and to avoid turning the dial back further on the activities we enjoy."