Inslee closes bars, restaurants amid growing COVID-19 crisis

UPDATE (March 17, 2020) — See Monday’s news release from the governor’s office detailing the emergency proclamation on shutting down restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities.

OLYMPIA (March 16, 2020) — Gov. Jay Inslee released the following statement Sunday night that further expands protections against COVID-19:

Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation tomorrow to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities.

Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted.

The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy.

Additionally, all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited and all gatherings under 50 participants are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met.

These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.

Tonight, after consultations with me and with the Department of Health, King County announced that they will be taking these actions immediately. King County has been the hotbed of this outbreak and has the largest population center in the state. I have spoken to Executive Dow Constantine and I applaud their decision to act quickly. We will do a joint media announcement with more details tomorrow (Monday) morning.

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