Governor Jay Inslee orders Washington businesses to close and residents to stay home unless it is necessary to go outside to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Non-essential businesses in Washington, or those that do not respond to life-sustaining needs, are ordered to stop their operations. More than seven million Washington residents are also advised to not leave the house in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The stay-at-home order is effective until April 6. Inslee expanded the order which initially imposed a statewide closure of bars, dine-in restaurants, and entertainment and recreation facilities and ban of large events. Other states had already implemented the same move, such as California and New York.
“This is a human tragedy on a scale we cannot yet project. It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight,” said Inslee during a televised address.
By Wednesday night, all non-essential businesses are expected to be closed. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and gas stations can still operate.
Also banned are public and private social, spiritual and recreational gatherings such as funerals and weddings.
People can only be allowed to leave their houses if they are doing an essential activity, like shopping, going to a doctor’s appointment, or working at an essential business. People can go for walks or runs outside as long as they maintain a six-foot distance from others.
Inslee expressed his concern about people who are not taking the outbreak seriously and not practicing social distancing when out.
However, the governor’s office advised people overstock and stick to their normal purchasing habits to make sure that everyone has the supplies that they need.
Meanwhile, King County Search and Rescue is telling people to avoid hiking to keep its volunteers safe and use valued personal protective equipment if called.