Serving Franklin County, WA

Gov. Inslee orders new shutdowns effective Monday

Bars, restaurants prohibited from offering inside service

OLYMPIA — Calling the current status of the coronavirus outbreak the "third wave," Gov. Jay Inslee ordered more shutdowns this morning, Nov. 15.

Indoor service at restaurants and bars is prohibited from midnight Monday through Dec. 14.

In addition, church services are being limited to 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, the governor said, calling today the "most dangerous public health day" in state history. Choirs, singing and ensembles are banned, but a solo performance will be allowed.

"In-action here is not an option. We have to take bold and decisive action," he said. "We are doing that today."

The governor's orders prohibit all indoor gatherings, unless participants quarantine for 14 days, or in the alternative, 7 days with a negative coronavirus test in the 48 hours prior to the gathering.

He also said outdoor gatherings will be limited to no more than five people.

The limitation on outdoor gatherings will not affect the Seattle Seahawks and football teams at Washington State University and University of Washington.

"These teams have been able to demonstrate rigorous protocols that we think give us a good degree of confidence (games) can be done safely," Gov. Inslee said. "It's a very, very different situation."

Daycares, preschools and private and public schools offering in-person classes are not being shut down at this time, he said. And neither are hair/nail salons or other personal services or manufacturing/construction jobs.

Economic issues

The governor said the coronavirus shutdowns are not just a health issue, they are also economic.

To help offset the damage to businesses, Gov. Inslee announced he has allocated an additional $50 million for grants and loans; details will be announced at a later date.

"This is tough for business owners," he said.

The governor also acknowledged that Eastern Washington residents are taking their business to Idaho, which doesn't have severe quarantine orders.

"Obviously, I don't have jurisdiction in Idaho," he said. "We are not going to have any border patrols, but we will have enforcement in businesses in our jurisdiction."

Inslee blamed Idaho for what he called "jammed up hospitals" in Spokane for coronavirus cases.

"Idaho has not done what we have done," he said. "We hope Idaho will be more aggressive and responsible."

The governor said he won't be stepping up enforcement actions on businesses, but won't back down if businesses don't comply.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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