Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered non-essential businesses to close and the state’s more than 7 million residents to stay home unless necessary in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The stay-at-home order will remain in place through April 6, Inslee said during a Monday night televised address.
The order required every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity; bans all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes; and closes all businesses except essential businesses, such as grocery stores and doctor’s offices. See the complete list here.
“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said during the televised address.
As of Monday, more than 2,200 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state, and at least 110 people have died. For most people, the coronavirus causes symptoms such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
This order is similar to orders that other governors, in places such as California and New York, issued last week.
People can still go outside as long as they remain at least 6 feet apart, and they can still ride a bike, garden and walk their dog.
This new order builds on the early and unprecedented steps the state took in the past few weeks to protect Washingtonians, including closing schools, restaurants and entertainment venues.
“We’ve been very clear on the need for everyone to stay home,” Inslee said. “And, while most Washingtonians are doing their part, some still don’t grasp the seriousness of this pandemic.”
Bans on gatherings and going out take effect immediately. Non-essential businesses have until Wednesday to close. Inslee said that many businesses can continue letting employees work from home.
Inslee said he hopes businesses and residents voluntarily comply with the order and will discuss possible ways to enforce the order in the coming days if residents and businesses do not comply.
“We know life will look different tomorrow in Washington,” Inslee said. “And we know tonight’s announcement affects millions of our livelihoods. But these necessary restrictions will protect us and our loved ones so that we have a livelihood to come back to. We will keep working until this is defeated.”
Inslee urged shoppers to not hoard food and supplies.
“This is a human tragedy on a scale we cannot yet project. It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight,” Inslee said.
Effective immediately, all Washingtonians must stay home unless they are pursuing an essential activity.— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 24, 2020
➡️ Grocery shopping
➡️ Doctor appointments
➡️ Essential work duty