Gov. Jay Inslee issued a temporary “stay-at-home” order Monday evening, directing Washingtonians not to leave their homes — unless for crucial activities — in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The new rule will go into effect Monday evening and last through April 6. Non-essential businesses that are still open will have 48 hours to close, and won’t be able to reopen until at least April 8.
Here’s what is and isn’t allowed, according to his new order.
What is allowed:
- Grocery shopping and ordering take-out food from restaurants (food deliveries are also permitted)
- Attending medical appointments and going to pharmacies
- Taking a walk, running, biking and gardening (considered essential activities for everyone’s physical and mental health, Inslee noted.) You can also go to parks, as long as you’re practicing social distancing measures.
- Going to gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, banks and laundromats
- Continuing to work if you’re a part of any “essential businesses” — more on that below.
If you engage in any of these activities, just remember to keep 6 feet away from other people.
What isn’t allowed:
- Participating in any in-person leisure, hobby or social clubs
- Attending or playing in sports games and practices
- Going to weddings or funerals
- Attending religious services
- Visiting museums, theaters, art galleries or fundraisers
- Going to concerts, festivals or parades
- Working out at a gym or fitness center
- Going to nail salons, barbers or tattoo parlors
- Going out to bars or eating at restaurants (Both are closed for those activities anyway.)
Basically, Inslee said, the order restricts any social, spiritual or recreational gatherings. This means no sleepovers or big parties — and, to many tourists’ dismay, the University of Washington is asking people not to visit their famous cherry blossoms this year.
“We expect everyone out there to comply with this order voluntarily. Because everyone knows all of our loved ones are at risk here,” he said in the Monday press conference. “But make no mistake, this order is enforceable by law.”
What are essential businesses?
The list of essential businesses still allowed to operate is lengthy, comprising hundreds of types of roles in emergency and law enforcement, health care, manufacturing, child care, food and agriculture, transportation, finance, defense, media and critical local government, such as courts.
Inslee listed the types of work deemed essential in this document.