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Gov. Inslee pleads with Washingtonians to avoid gathering for Thanksgiving, holidays

Gov. Jay Inslee and Trudi Inslee. (Screengrab from TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee and his wife Trudi pleaded with Washingtonians on Thursday night to refrain from gathering with people outside their households for Thanksgiving and the December holidays as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Watch Inslee’s address

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“Simply put, we have to rethink these holidays so that we may be thankful when we don’t lose more lives to COVID,” Gov. Inslee said.

Inslee did not announce new COVID restrictions as part of his address, but did mention that he’ll be announcing further action in the next few days.

“Please don’t gather with people outside of your household, it’s just too dangerous,” the governor said.

He and his wife explained that the Inslee family loves celebrating together, but this year they’ll be doing so virtually. He also expressed hope in new therapeutics and a vaccine, saying that the holiday season in 2021 will be even better. The good news, he added, is that we should only have to pause our normal celebrations for this year.

“Please know that you are doing it as an act of love,” Inslee said. “We love each other too much to put each other’s health at risk.”

Gov. Inslee noted that we are in as dangerous a position today as we were in March.

“We cannot wait until our hospital halls are lined with gurneys waiting for rooms before we take decisive action,” he said.

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The Inslees said the “simple request” from their family to everyone else in Washington state is to not have Thanksgiving gatherings unless you can be absolutely sure that everyone outside your own household has been fully quarantined for 14 days, which would start Thursday.

Gov. Inslee and Trudi ended their address by thanking frontline workers and recognizing the sacrifices that everyone in Washington has had to make this year. Gov. Inslee added that great work has been done already in Washington, including innovative adaptations by businesses, and people masking up statewide, which has put us in a better position than many other states. However, that can still change.

As cases continue to rise across the state, Gov. Inslee does expect to announce early next week, possibly Monday, his decisions on the next steps to be taken in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19, but said “what’s most urgent right now, tonight, is what we do in our own dwellings.”

“Every gathering will risk spreading COVID-19 until we’ve finally wrestled this virus to the ground, which we will do together,” Inslee said.

The governor’s staff have been reaching out to stakeholders in various sectors and industries for their input on proposals to restrict activities. As with previous restrictions, the goal is to reduce how often people come into contact with others outside of their own household, limit the spread of the virus, and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.

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