Gov. Inslee extends shutdown to Jan. 11
Large protest planned for that day on state Capitol campus
Last updated 12/30/2020 at 10:59pm
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee this morning extended his coronavirus lockdown measures until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 11, “unless otherwise extended.”
Jan. 11 is the opening day of the upcoming legislative session, and Democrats Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane and Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma have said there won't be public access to government buildings. Billig is the Senate majority leader and Jinkins is the House majority leader.
They are two of the so-called "four corners" of leadership in the Legislature. The remaining two "corners" are Republicans Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Yelm and Sen. John Braun of Centralia.
Legislative leaders decided earlier this month to restrict physical access to proceedings due to the coronavirus, a move that shutdown opponents have noted is unconstitutional.
The Senate rules for the upcoming session were approved by the Facilities and Operations Committee.
The extension of the lockdown and closure of government proceedings comes amid increasing protests by residents and businesses statewide.
On Jan. 11, thousands of protesters are expected to flood the state Capitol campus to set up a “gauntlet” in which lawmakers and select government employees will have to navigate to enter public buildings. As the politicos make their way into buildings, protesters are vowing to go with them to observe proceedings.
Gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, R-Republic, has called on minority leaders Wilcox and Braun to ensure public access to legislative proceedings as required under the state Constitution.
Culp, who is challenging the results of the Nov. 3 general election loss to Inslee, is also calling on the state shutdown orders to be lifted.
“Can someone do a welfare check on Rep. Wilcox and Sen. Braun,” a social media post says on Culp's page. "Washington small businesses need them to man up and they're nowhere to be found.”
Meanwhile, under Gov. Inslee’s coronavirus shutdown extension, restaurants, taverns are bars are still prohibited from offering indoor services, but may offer table service for up to five people at one table.
Several eateries statewide are openly challenging the governor’s orders by remaining open, including Eastern Washington businesses The Black Diamond in Spokane Valley, Koko’s Bartini and Barley’s Brewhub in Kennewick, Shakey’s Pizza in Pasco, the Cariboo Inn in Okanogan, Doxie’s Diner in Wilbur and others.
Kimo’s Sportbar and Brew Pub has been open, but announced today it would close indoor service after the Liquor and Cannabis Board again threatened to revoke the Kennewick business' liquor license.
Protesters have taken up positions at some of the locations to rally in support of the restaurants while encouraging public employees working for the Department of Labor and Industries and the Liquor and Cannabis Board to stop harassment of owners trying to keep their businesses alive.
Fitness centers and gyms are also prohibited from offering indoor amenities, but can provide outdoor classes.
Several, like Anytime Fitness in Selah, Yakima and Union Gap, are bucking the governor’s orders and remaining open.
Others continuing to be shut down include indoor sports, concerts, museums, zoos, aquariums, movie theaters, bowling alleys, business meetings, convention centers, events centers, fairgrounds, sports arenas and other venues and activities.
In Kennewick, MaxAir Tri-Cities trampoline park is staying open in opposition to the governor’s orders.
Churches and retail
Due to federal appellate court rulings, the governor’s orders allow church services without a maximum capacity. But parishioners must wear masks, under the proclamation. Soloists can perform, but choirs, bands, ensembles and congregational signing is only allowed outdoors.
Retail businesses are limited to 25% of indoor capacity, but indoor food courts are prohibited. Furthermore, professional services — such as barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc. — are allowed to operate at 25% capacity.
Long-term care facilities are generally barred from allowing indoor visits, but clients can visit with family members outdoors, under the order.
The governor said he is continuing his “travel advisory,” directing residents and visitors to avoid non-essential travel and to quarantine for 14 days if they travel outside of the state.
“These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household,” the governor wrote in his proclamation.