Inslee announces he’s rolling back some activities to slow COVID-19 exposure

Gov. Jay Inslee speaking to the media Thursday.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman Thursday announced changes to “Safe Start,” Washington’s phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.

It has been four months since the governor announced the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Since then, cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500, the governor’s office said.

To combat the rising numbers, the governor and secretary are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.

“We do not take these steps lightly. We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line.”

Weddings and funerals

Under the new guidance, ceremonies will remain permitted, but receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies must adhere to current guidance; for all phases, maximum indoor occupancy is 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as social distancing can be observed.

The changes will take effect in two weeks, on Aug. 6, providing a grace period for weddings and funerals previously scheduled to take place or readjust their plans.

Restaurants

Restaurant guidance will now require parties to be members of the same household in order to dine indoors. Outdoor dining and take-away remains available for small parties from different households.

Table size for dine-in in Phase 3 will be reduced to five individuals, and occupancy is reduced from 75% to 50%.

Restaurants must also close gaming and social areas, such as pool tables, dart boards and video games.

Bars will be closed for indoor service, but can continue outdoor service. Alcohol service inside of restaurants must end by 10 p.m.

These regulations take effect in one week, on July 30.

Fitness centers

The number of individuals allowed to use fitness centers and other physical health venues at a given time will also be reduced.

In Phase 2, only five individuals — not including staff — will be allowed for indoor fitness services at a time. This includes gyms, fitness studios, and indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball courts, and tennis facilities. These are limited to small group instruction or private training.

Fitness center occupancy in Phase 3 will be reduced to 25%. All group fitness classes are limited to no more than 10, not including the instructors.

The changes are effective July 30.

Entertainment regulations

Indoor family entertainment and recreation centers — like mini golf, bowling alleys, and arcades — are prohibited from opening, as well as indoor card rooms. Indoor movie theater occupancy will be reduced from 50% to 25% in Phase 3.

Face coverings

In addition to those changes, Wiesman announced an expansion of his face coverings order that will go into effect Saturday, July 25.

The expansion will require face coverings in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate setting such as nursing homes.

“We’re losing the momentum we had during the early months of this response,” Wiesman said. “Looking ahead to the fall and hopes of schools reopening, we must dig back in to regain control. Fewer, shorter, and safer interactions are crucial. Staying home is still safest but if you go out, keep it quick, keep your distance from others, and wear your face covering.”

Eviction moratorium extension

Inslee also announced an extension of the state’s eviction moratorium to Oct. 15. Details on the extension will be released in the coming days.

In addition to the moratorium, the extension also directs Governor’s Office staff to convene an informal work group of landlords and tenants to discuss potential changes to the order in the short-term and long-term as the pandemic progresses, including the prospect of rent increases.

“I know we are all tired of how long this emergency has gone on, and the pain it has inflicted in our households and our communities,” Inslee said. “But we all remain steadfast in our refusal to allow COVID-19 to overwhelm our society, and we will lean on each other to get the job done. This is not the easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. These prohibitions are part of our approach, but they only supplement what we really need, which is for individuals to continue to make safe decisions and adhere to healthy practices.”

19 Replies to “Inslee announces he’s rolling back some activities to slow COVID-19 exposure”

  1. Inslee, Wiesman and the rest of the idiots mandating this ongoing debacle are doing vastly more harm than the covid flu. Time to stop this destructive madness now. Why is the media not calling this hoax out ?

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    1. Probably because it is not a hoax. My brother and his wife were infected with coronavirus and she was hospitalized with severe pneumonia. It can be a ravaging illness. So please stop calling it a hoax.

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    2. It is sad to see how political this issue has become. If there ever was a time where we needed to band together for the good of this country, this is it. America has not desperately needed this type of unity and patriotism so badly since WWII, and frankly, we are failing at it. America has been uniquely terrible in the world at controlling the spread of this virus. 5% of the world’s population, 25% of the world’s cases.

      The countries that have had a capable National response have been able to reap the financial rewards of their responsible leadership. Not to mention all of their citizens who did not need to die because their leaders put in responsible plans, and their citizens developed responsible habits to follow them.

      If we want to have our local businesses remain open, and stay profitable, we need people to put their communities and the people they love ahead of selfish partisanship and wild conspiracy theories. If you love America, than you wear a mask.

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  2. Thank you Governor Inslee for having the courage to help us in spite of ourselves. What a shame some in our society seem unwilling to show enough caring and concern for the safety of our neighbors for what we call “our rights”. I am happy to say that I do see more people in Edmonds who choose to do the right thing. Together, we will get through this.

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  3. The new guidlines take effect August 1st according to the Seattle Times. Your article states August 6th. Which is correct?

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  4. Different dates for different things. Seattle Times has all the different dates correctly printed. Those are printed above as well.

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    1. This is what I don’t understand, the state says we are doing these things because they are needed, but not today, next week or two is fine to start making us safer. Every time they switch their minds to make us safer they delay the action, how many people get sick during those delays?

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  5. It appears the only people that can get Covid 19 are law abiding people. Covid doesn’t apply to BLM, Antifa, or homeless. They can do as they choose and since they don’t get Covid Seattle will not be arresting any of the above. Now if the riots get out of control our President wants to rescue downtown Seattle . If he sends our military or another police To Seattle, those police will all get Covid and spread the disease on to Seattleites. So, in short, I’m sorry some get very ill with this disease, cancer, flu, heart illness. They are all terrible..but it appears a very one sided illness.

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    1. So thats how a virus works? We slow it down and it gives up I guess…good to know. Pretty sure everyone will be exposed to the virus, no point in messing up the economy and ruining more lives indirectly. Whats in the water these days that people are drinking?

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      1. Moot point. Trump said the virus would just disappear months ago. He’s drinking the water from Flint, Michigan.

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  6. Also the Democrats large fundraiser dinner is August 8, est attendance 1000…at a minimum $150 plate. Where does this fit into their numbers??

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  7. For anyone confused on all of the WA State COVID guidelines, the Mayor’s office has a one page PDF that explains the rules, and appears to be updating it as new guidelines are announced.

    https://coronavirus.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/SafeStart-PhasedReopening_July20.pdf

    Since, this link is dated, it may not be valid if there is an update. Here is the general link:

    https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/safe-start/whats-open-each-phase

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  8. Indoor dining as long as everyone is from same household? How will this be enforced? Will you have to ‘show your papers’ to authorities before entering? If you get cold eating outside you could burn a copy of the constitution for warmth. That is basically what Inslee is doing.

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