With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations hitting record numbers, theories have emerged to figure out why. Washington state Governor Jay Inslee is on the ground and says he knows what’s going on: “This is not a result of more testing. Our hospital occupancy is increasing. Our test-positivity rate is increasing. And around the country, hospital systems are beginning to get overwhelmed.” That’s why he announced a new set of statewide restrictions yesterday. “We are facing a third wave that is more dangerous than any we’ve seen before. We cannot and will not lose control of this virus,” Inslee said. “Inaction is not an option. We have to take bold decisive action.” Read on to hear his full warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Washington State is Seeing 2,000 Cases a Day
“Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country,” said the Governor’s Office. “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.”
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a 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.”
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The Governor’s Rules In Full
Here’s what the citizens of Washington must follow:
“We recognize this will cause financial hardship for many businesses and the governor and staff are exploring ways to mitigate the impacts. From midnight on Monday, November 16 through Monday, December 14, all counties in Washington rollback to the restrictions outlined below. Restriction modifications for all counties effective midnight on Monday, November 16, unless otherwise noted. If the activity is not listed, it should follow its current guidance.
All K12/higher education, health care, and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not apply to courts and judicial branch-related proceedings.
- Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
- Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household.
- Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
- Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
- Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
- Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer. ▪ Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
- Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.
- Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
- Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
- Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
- In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
- Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
- Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
- Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits. ▪ Personal service providers include: cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
- Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
- Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.”
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How to Not Die During the Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Follow Inslee’s advice, wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.