For four weeks restaurants and gyms are closed indoors, retail is limited to 25% capacity
OLYMPIA — Gov. Lee Inslee on Sunday announced new statewide restrictions, including in-door restaurant closures, in effect for four weeks to counter the resurgence of COVID cases.
The new limits come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with more than 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.
This spike puts everyone in a more dangerous position now than in March at the start of the pandemic, Inslee said at his press conference.
“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,” the governor said.
The restrictions were set to take effect just before midnight Monday, Nov. 16, to remain in place until Monday, Dec. 14. The increased restrictions upon restaurants, however, were to take effect a day later, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Inslee said that to help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. In the short term, that will be $20 million in cash assistance targeted directly to hardest-hit industries. Remaining funds will be focused on supporting recovery efforts through business loans. Additional details will be forthcoming.
However, as announced Sunday, all K-12 and higher education, health care and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will be held to current guidance. Also, courts and judicial proceedings are exempt.
These are details of the governor’s announcement, contained in a press release put out by his office:
• Indoor social gatherings with people from outside a household are prohibited unless people (a) quarantine for 14 days prior or (b) quarantine for seven days prior and receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours before.
• Social gatherings are limited to five people from outside a household.
• Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are allowed, to a table maximum of five people.
• Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operation. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted, subject to outdoor gathering limits.
• In-store retail is limited to 25% of indoor occupancy limits,and common/congregate seating areas are closed.
• Religious services are limited to 25% of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Facial coverings must be worn at all times. Singing is prohibited. No choir, band or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists may perform, vocalists with a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the outdoor dining guidance.
• Weddings and funerals are limited to no more than 30 people.
• For “miscellaneous venues,” occupancy in a meeting room must be held at 25% of indoor limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas and nonprofit establishments.
• Movie theaters are closed for indoor service.
• Museums are closed for indoor service.
• Real estate open houses are prohibited.
• Bowling centers are closed.
• Professional services must mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Offices kept open must limit occupancy to 25% of indoor capacity.
• Personal services are limited to 25% of indoor occupancy limits. These include: cosmetologists, hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, nail salon workers and tanning salons.
• In long-term care facilities, outdoor visits only are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, with individual exception for an essential support person or end-of-life care.
• Youth and adult indoor sporting activities, contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities are limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.
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