Inslee announces statewide ban on indoor dining and gyms, reduced retail capacity to address COVID-19 resurgence

Gov. Jay Inslee answers questions during a media briefing Sunday morning.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday morning announced new COVID-19 restrictions that will ban indoor service for restaurants and bars, close indoor fitness facilities and gyms, limit the capacity of retail stores and religious services.

The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.

All orders go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16 except for the restrictions on bars and restaurants. Those become effective  at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18. The restrictions are limited to four weeks but could be extended if progress isn’t made, Inslee said.

To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, Inslee said the state is committing $50 million in aid. Businesses can also apply for Paycheck Protection Plan forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration, or from their local bank. If workers are kept in their jobs, the loans aren’t required to be paid back.

“We cannot take lightly the impact on business,” Inslee said, “but this is clear. We cannot enjoy a full economic recorvery, which we all desperately want, without knocking down this virus.”

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.


Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for the 14 days prior to the social gathering or quarantine for the seven days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48 hours prior to the gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.

Answering a question about enforcement of restrictions on home gatherings, Inslee said the public should not expect “state troopers to be coming to your door if you’re having a big Thanksgiving dinner.” The idea instead “is to raise the consciousness of this issue” to encourage compliance, the governor added.

For long-term care facilities, only outdoor visits will be allowed. Indoor visits may be permitted for essential support persons or end-of-life care.

Restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service, with to-go services and restricted outdoor dining allowed.

In-store retail, grocery stores and personal services (for example, hair and nail salons) are limited to 25% of occupancy and must close any areas where people congregate.

Indoor service will be closed at fitness facilities and gyms, and youth and adult amateur sporting activities are limited to outdoors only with facial coverings.

Bowling alleys, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theaters will be closed for indoor services.

Religious services will be limited to 25% indoor capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, and choirs, bands or ensembles are prohibited from performing. Wedding and funeral ceremonies can go on with limited attendance, but receptions of any size are prohibited indoors.

Responding to the governor’s announcement, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said that “action must be taken to save lives and the capacity of our health care system. Our state has reached a tipping point where doing nothing is not an option. Clearly, the status quo is not working.

“We will do all we can in Snohomish County to protect our most vulnerable residents, preserve our medical capacity, and keep our small businesses functioning,” Somers continued. “I am very worried about impacts to our local economy, particularly after the rough year we’ve had. I will continue to be a strong advocate for more federal funding to help us through this wave of the pandemic. We are all beyond frustrated with the need for these measures, but they are necessary to push the curve back down. We’ve done it before and can do it again.”

Dr. Chris Spitters, Snohomish Health District health officer, said that while he regrets that such restrictions are necessary, “we need to put on the brakes now to keep from overwhelming the already stressed health care system. These aren’t across-the-board shutdowns, but rather a strategic freeze within those sectors and situations that are linked to this recent surge in cases. We need everyone to join in and respect the restrictions to turn this around,” Spitters said.

Following Inslee’s announcment, State Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said her department “stands ready to assist any affected Washington workers while we all strive to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Whether customers need to restart their claim or are coming to us for the first time, all the information they need can be found at”



  1. As soon as departing health officer Dr. Lofy said, “Even though we know more Abbott how the virus spreads, in many cases it’s not possible to pin point exactly where COVID19 is being transmitted in our communities,” Inslee’s rules became arbitrary and capricious.

    When Inslee stated known outbreaks (deemed to occur in the presence of more than 1 simultaneous case) have occurred at construction sites, yet they are not addressed in his new rules, Inslee solidified the fact that he is continuing to pick winners and losers without attention to science.

  2. I watched the governor’s entire press conference today as well as most of his previous COVID conferences, I thought that today’s was by far the best of them all. He first very clearly explained all of the issues and then did a good job answering all of the questions from the press. We now need Speaker Pelosi to make her demands more reasonable so that help can come from congress.

  3. WA State, Total Flu Deaths 2018 verse Total CV-19 Death 2020

    In this image are the sources of the information. I aggregated the data for WA state and lined each up by week number. Note that the first reported CV-19 deaths in 2020 weren’t reported until February were as the Flu was peak season. A pretty interesting read on the Flu/Pneumonia death methodology is found here:

    Note I did want to do a Flu/Pneumonia rate by age and break each out according to that demographic, but the CDC only offered a model for that and it would have taken some more work. I don’t have a ton of time right now. If you would like my spreadsheet, just email

  4. “A strategic freeze” = government will pick the winners and losers (Spitters). Somers continued, “I am very worried about impacts to our local economy, particularly after the rough year we’ve had.” While I too am concerned about the impact to our economy, I am especially – and acutely aware and concerned – about the mental and emotional impact.

    I also would like clarity on how one can attend church with 200 people but can’t have a social gathering inside their home with a few friends? I am failing to see or understand the logic here? This would fail proper mission clarity and planning.

    Some will choose to live their life LIVING while others will live life avoiding death. You choose. News flash – death is inevitable. Our country was built by men and women who exercised courage in uncertainty and yet, through disease, pestilence, conflicts, battles – they pressed forward. We have room to grow in courage.

    1. My wife and I have been attending church weekly since it was allowed in June. People are seated at least 6 feet apart and required to constantly wear a mask. In homes you are not likely to maintain that distance, or wear a mask since you’ll probably be eating and drinking.

      1. Ron – you can’t hide from a virus. You increase your risks by attending church six feet apart and wearing a mask despite your caution. It is either serious enough to put a freeze on everything – or it is not. One must take responsibility for their own health…the moment you put your faith in government to take care of you is the moment you are no longer free.

        1. Michael:
          Sometimes you choose to tolerate a lack of freedom, just like you did when you were in the navy.

  5. Ron – I have no issue with supporting a mission greater than myself. What I find concerning is that people are putting so much faith in the government to solve their health issues. This country was founded by courageous men and women – that courage is on life support.

  6. Government is trying to grease the wheels for medical best practices to be able to prevail over a highly contagious disease. I would say this is just like government actions to try to prevail over a foreign enemy using armed forces with rationing required of private citizens in time of war. Courage is one thing; obstinate refusal to consider the general good are quite another.

    1. I appreciate your rationalization of a submissive response to the Government’s demands. However, our nation was not formed by submitting to a tyrannical authority, and I fear it will not be maintained by such submission, either.

      They warn us of this enemy’s approach by their measurement of “cases.” However, here are excerpts from the conclusion of a research paper submitted for publication by Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences: “PCR results per se are unlikely to predict viral culture from human samples… PCR results may lead to restrictions for large groups of people who do not present an infection risk.”

      Translation: We can’t really say that a positive COVID test means you are contagious, but it’s going to be counted as a “case.” And, we’ll let Government authorities use these statistics to restrict the public who doesn’t actually present an infection risk!

      I’m all-in for a noble sacrifice for the greater good, but I absolutely refuse to roll-over where the rights of me and my children are in jeopardy.

      If this is war and Inslee is our General, color me a conscientious objector.

      1. Brian, Communism requires sacrifice. The latest message, which seems to be just about everywhere, is that coronavirus is an opportunity to rebuild and replace the status quo with a more fair, equitable, and environmentally-friendly system lead by experts. Just google “coronavirus is an opportunity to rebuild” and this is everywhere. We’ve all heard of proletariat up-rising, military coup d’etat, but this is the first epidemiological revolution. The reason why there’s no emphasis on CV-19 mortality rates is because a lot of people will walk away from the revolution if given any context.

  7. I find it MUCH easier to stay safe from CV19 than to stay safe from all this discussion. I guess I could just skip it all but one of our great American principles is Free Speech. I guess what goes along with FS is Free Listening.

    As soon as we start tossing insults and barbs and the things some of these threads often lead to then this thread will have been closed like so many others.

    1. Darrol, I don’t see any insults in this thread. This is possibly the most constructive discussion I’ve see in a long while, and a lot of what has been said here is censored on other platforms. MEN is amazing for letting this happen.

      You might be referring to my reference regarding communism. I don’t think that is an insult or a dirty word any more like it used to be. Socialism [for example] is back in the lexicon and no longer verboten. Communism is getting that way as well. Next year we will hear it said everywhere, unapologetically.

      A perfectly good tragedy never goes to waste.

  8. There seems to be fair amount of science, studies conducted by New England Journal of Medicine and even the US Marines, indicating that [reverse] quarantines, compulsive mask wearing, social distancing are futile even in strictly regulated scenereos.

    As I’ve pointed out in the cumulative graphs I developed, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between any of Jay Inslee’s executive orders thus far and mortality rate. CV-19 deaths are exactly proportional to Flu and Pnemonia deaths.

  9. Matt:
    No doubt you’ve heard the expression that “you can prove anything with statistics”. You have decided that you do not want to wear a mask, so you have evidently found statistics to support your position. Guess what; there are even more statistics that prove wearing a mask is the right thing to do.

    1. Did you look at the graph comparing CV-19 in WA to the Flu? There are zero statistical tricks there, talking all numbers as reported from the CDC. It begs a legitimate question, and I’m begging you to answer it – Why don’t we wear masks and isolate ourselves for the Flu? The only assumption I’m making is that a Flu death is as tragic as a CV-19 death.

      As the CV-19 case counts keep coming in, we should be elated. Death rates (and even hospitalization rates) are very low and we are getting closer to herd immunity.

      1. I suspect that we do not wear masks for the flu, as they do across Asia, is because we have vaccines to treat it. If there had been a vaccine for COVID I suspect that we would not have started wearing masks.

        1. The Chinese mostly wear masks for air pollution, not mostly for comminable diseases. Dense chinese cities with more pollution have more mask usage and conversely with cleaner cities. Besides, and this is a big besides, the virus originated from a Chinese city with ubiquitous mask usage. This isn’t a case where the virus spread by people not wearing masks.

  10. The reality is, very little coercion is being used to “enforce” these emergency regulations. Inslee clearly stated that the state patrol will not be interrupting your T.G. dinner party and he went out of his way to list possible private and public sources to help adversely affected businesses. The “state” is asking for voluntary compliance. If you don’t believe in it, feel free not to comply. Can’t get much freer than that. Where’s the threat? I don’t see any. Millions won’t wear masks or get vaccinated, but in the end good science will help restore the economy. The glass is half full.

  11. I find this exchange of comments interesting, hopeful and encouraging. We are still asking questions and challenging each other in an effort to find the truth about the situation we are now living under. Each one of us will get through the challenge of COVID-19. Notice I didn’t add any conditions to getting through such as “if we follow the mandates or if we don’t follow the mandates…”

    Which leads me to point out Mike’s comment “Some will choose to live their life LIVING while others will live life avoiding death. You choose. News flash – death is inevitable. ”

    While death is a fact of life, it might be helpful to remember that we all have a choice on how we use the time we do have before we die.

    We are all susceptible to high levels of stress, anxiety and uncertainty right now (obvious, duh!). So, are we allowing what is happening outside of our control disrupt our interior peace? And if so, how is that being expressed to others?

  12. I am all for liberty and people making personal choices on how they want to live their lives, especially when those decisions do not negatively impact others. We are being asked to sacrifice in part so that we can limit the burden on our hospitals and ensure that the most vulnerable are able to receive the care that they need (COVID and non-COVID related needs). The choice to make that sacrifice is up to each individual. However, please keep in mind that our local hospitals do have capacity limits, and this virus creates a risk that we will surpass those limits. If you are one of those people who are choosing to live your life as if there is no global pandemic, please also commit to avoid going to the hospital if you do get sick. If that is too much of a commitment, please reconsider your position and think of those who may go without care because of your decisions.

  13. My mother had a cancer screen postponed 6 months. When it finally happened, it was positive. Her health was drastically effected by lockdowns. The effect of lockdowns kills people and business. The WHO says lockdowns don’t work.

    The scrap of crap you wear on your face is just a contaminant. I worked in surgery for 17 years. You wear a mask for a specific procedure for no more than 4 hours and you replace it. The slogan was “down and done”. If you take it off throw it away. There is no evidence that your homemade long-time use masks does anything but harm the wearer.

    The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation’s most recent report says lockdowns have created a 25 year set back in the last 25 weeks. Malaria, TB, Polio, Aids, Yellow Fever, Poverty, Famine will or have spiked.

    Stop “saving us” by locking us in a cage. Let us live!

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