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Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier calls Inslee’s event ban ‘reasonable step’

Vice President Mike Pence (right) meets with Gov. Jay Inslee for a media briefing at the Pierce County Readiness Center in Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Governor Jay Inslee announced a tri-county event ban Wednesday — canceling festivals, sporting events, concerts, plays, and faith-based events drawing over 250 attendees through the end of March — and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier applauded the move.

Dammeier’s county — in addition to King and Snohomish Counties — is one of the three affected by the event ban, and he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented.

“I don’t think our community has gone through anything like this since 1918,” he said, referring to the worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic.

He called the 250 figure “a reasonable step” toward protecting people’s health, without going overboard into controlling people’s freedom.

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“What we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t go down the path of some of those other communities, like some of those in China, like what Italy is experiencing right now,” he said. “And when you think about that kind of disruption, the things we’re talking about here, making these reasonable steps, … I think it’s worth the economic disruption.”

Pierce County is working to help small businesses, and hourly workers in particular, ride the wave.

“The impact on local business, on small business, is going to be of a significant scale, and we need to make sure we have provisions for them to help them get through it,” Dammeier said.

Dammeier said he talked to Vice President Mike Pence during his recent visit to Washington state about getting federal aid for local communities.

He supports expanding tests for coronavirus as much as possible and getting the results back to people quickly.

“When we do that, we can focus our medical resources on those who are truly sick and truly vulnerable, we can relieve a lot of people’s concerns, and we can better understand this virus,” he said.

Dammeier hopes the event ban, school closures, and other recent actions that may seem dramatic to some people will slow the transmission of the disease so that the Puget Sound can get back to normal as soon as possible.

“It’s to protect the seniors, the folks who are pregnant, those with compromised immune systems — that’s what this system is designed to do,” he said. “We’re trying to slow the spread of the disease, and protect those folks in particular.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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