This Governor Just Extended a "Hard" Lockdown Statewide
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee extended that state's COVID-19 restrictions for three weeks on Tuesday, shifting the proposed end date from Dec. 14 to Jan. 4. Under the plan, indoor dining and team sports are banned. Gyms and movie theaters are closed. Retail stores, salons and houses of worship are allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. Indoor gatherings are prohibited unless the attendees have quarantined beforehand; outdoor gatherings are allowed if limited to five people. Read on to hear more about the restrictions, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
A "troubling" trajectory
According to KING 5, 80% of the state's ICU beds are occupied and more than 1,000 Washington residents are hospitalized for coronavirus.
Inslee's announcement comes as COVID-19 cases are surging nationwide, and several states have set records for new cases and hospitalizations. Health officials are nervously waiting to see if recently held Thanksgiving gatherings drive a further spike.
Inslee said preliminary data about the disease course in Washington was "troubling."
"This extension could end up shorter if there was significant improvement," he said. "And, unfortunately, people know it could end up longer if there's a deterioration. But, at this moment, we wanted to strike the right balance of allowing business owners to plan their next several weeks and deal with this uncertainty of the data."
Inslee said $50 million in assistance will be available for small businesses and workers affected by the pandemic. He also said unemployment benefits will be extended.
Inslee also urged Washingtonians not to host holiday gatherings.
"I know how hard it has been for so many, especially as we head into the holiday season," he said. "And I realize that this amount is not going to solve everyone's problems associated with this pandemic. But I am grateful we've been able to do $50 million today so we can get that out the door as fast as humanly possible, as we continue to look for additional options for these hard-hit businesses."
Restrictions apply to groups large and small
Other restrictions in the current plan include:
- Attendees of indoor gatherings must have quarantined for 14 days before the event if they haven't been tested for COVID, or for seven days with a negative COVID test (taken no more than two days before).
- Restaurants and bars can't serve indoors, other than takeout orders. Outdoor dining is allowed with a maximum of five people per table.
- At religious services, soloists can perform, but not choirs or groups. Attendees are required to wear face coverings and are not allowed to sing. (Public health experts say that singing can forcefully expel coronavirus particles and raise the risk of infection.)
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.