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By Beka Compton
The Times 

Third wave of COVID-19 brings new state restrictions

Health officials joined Governor Inslee as he addressed the soaring rates of COVID-19 in Washington State


November 19, 2020

OLYMPIA—Governor Jay Inslee announced a new wave of restrictions last weekend, amidst the third wave of COVID-19 in Washington.

“Today, November 15, 2020, I have to report to Washingtonians, is the most dangerous public health day in over 100 years of our state’s great history,” Gov. Inslee began his Sunday-morning release. “It is troublesome that I have to report that there is a pandemic raging across our state.”

COVID-19 cases have more than doubled over the past two weeks across the state, according to State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofa. More than 2,000 new cases are being reported daily and Dr. Lofa warns that at this rate, cases will hit 4,000 per day within two weeks.

Governor Inslee announced that childcare, K-12 education, and higher education are exempt from the new restriction. School districts can still hold in-person instruction as long as they continue to implement COVID-19 preventative measures. The new restrictions do not apply to the courts and court-related proceedings.

Cases in Washington have soared recently, with the daily positive test rate more than doubling over the past two weeks.

Starting Monday, November 16, indoor social gatherings should be limited to household members unless guests from outside self-quarantine before the event. Guests can quarantine for 14 days before the gathering or seven days after receiving a negative COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours before the event. Indoor gatherings have been a major driving factor of COVID-19 spikes across the state. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to five people from outside of your home.

Long-term Care Facilities are allowed for outdoor visits only. Exceptions can be made for one essential support person per patient and end-of-life care.

Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dining services, with outdoor dining limited to five people per table. To-go service is still permitted. Restaurant restrictions began at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18.

In-store retail, grocery stores, and personal services are limited to 25% of occupancy, and businesses must close any congregate areas.

Religious services, weddings, and funerals are limited to 25% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is less. Choir, band, and ensemble performances are prohibited, as is congregational singing. Face coverings are required at all times during services.

Fitness centers and gyms are closed for indoor service. Outdoor fitness classes may continue and are subject to outdoor gathering restrictions- limiting groups to five or less. Entertainment facilities, including movie theaters, aquariums, museums, and zoos, will be closed for indoor services.

“This is absolutely the right time to take action,” said Dr. George Diaz, infectious disease physician at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. “It will save the lives of many Washingtonians, provide relief to our most precious resources, which are our front-line healthcare workers, and allow us to continue to provide the full array of medical and surgical care that our state needs.”

The Governor’s new restrictions went into effect on Monday, November 16, and Wednesday, November 18 and will remain in effect until December 14.


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