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Gov. Inslee issues ‘stay at home’ proclamation for Washington state

Gov. Inslee address Washington state residents on Monday, March 23, 2020. (TVW screengrab)

Gov. Inslee has signed a statewide proclamation for all Washingtonians to stay at home for the next two weeks. This order is similar to what we’ve seen in California.

Read: Inslee’s full list of essential critical infrastructure workers

Inslee was clear to point out that it’s not the same as a “shelter in place” order. You’re still allowed to go outside, to the grocery store, and to do other essential business.

“The less time you spend out in public, the more lives we can save,” Inslee said.

The order is effective immediately on gatherings, both public and private, social, spiritual, and recreational. Even funerals and weddings are prohibited.

“These celebrations of life, these important moments to gather with loved ones, must be postponed,” Inslee said.

Inslee said everything from basketball games in the park to sleepovers will be illegal under the new order.

“This order is enforceable by law and can be enforced,” Inslee said.

Businesses have 48 hours to close following the signing of the proclamation.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, health care services, child care providers, transportation, financial services, the defense industry, critical local government operations, and media are considered essential. To-go and delivery from restaurants will still be allowed. Inslee’s office provided a full list of industries that are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

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Inslee and the state Emergency Operations Center is asking residents to refrain from overstocking supplies. It’s important to make sure health care workers, seniors, and people who are ill still have access to necessities like toilet paper.

The governor said he knows this will be economically devastating for many families, and reminds everyone that has tips for businesses seeking aid. But he also says “hitting this hard” will help get our lives back to normal as soon as possible.

“Every Washingtonian needs to enlist themselves in this tumultuous struggle if we are to win,” Inslee said.

The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) said it supports Inslee’s action.

“The data and modeling are clear and we are learning from the experience of South Korea and China, and we must act now to minimize the damage,” said William K. Hirota, president of the association. “We thank the governor for taking this courageous step and we join him in urging the public to listen.”

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn issued the following statement Monday evening:

“I am fully supportive of the Governor’s decision to issue a ‘stay at home’ order. This is a critical public health decision and it will give our community a stronger tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. While this order puts a burden on every one of us, the sacrifices our community makes today will be rewarded in lives saved in the near future.”

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane), Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) and House Minority Leader JT Wilcox (R-Yelm) released a statement Monday night:

“We encourage all Washingtonians to follow the new guidance of Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman. The guidance in “Say Home, Stay Healthy” is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping flatten the curve of infections. Our behavior could mean life or death for Washingtonians.”

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