VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Washington Governor Jay Inslee introduced a “stay home” order for the state during a Monday evening address, which aired live online and started shortly after 5:30 p.m. “This is Washington’s ‘stay home, stay healthy’ order,” said Inslee, in reference to the stay-home order that Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued.
“This is a pandemic that threatens to overwhelm our society,” said Inslee during his address. “Its time to hunker down in order to win this fight.”
Inslee’s “Stay Home” order will be in effect for a minimum of two weeks, and will begin in the next two days. It includes a ban on all gatherings for “social, spiritual, and recreational purposes” and requires businesses to close, “unless those businesses are essential to the healthy functioning of our community or are able to let employees work remotely from home.” This order builds on the steps Inslee has already taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as closing schools, restaurants, and entertainment halls across the state.
“I’ve been very clear on the need for Washingtonians to stay home already, but I have heard from health professionals that people still aren’t practicing these precautions,” said Inslee. “That is one of the reasons why we have to take these steps.”
The new order is legally enforceable, according to Inslee.
The essential businesses that are exempt from this order were chosen largely based on federal guidelines and include: emergency services, health care industries, critical manufacturing, childcare providers, food and agriculture, transportation, financial services, defense industries, the media, and local government operations.
Watch Governor Jay Inslee’s address:
These places of employment are expected to practice social distancing whenever possible.
The Washington governor assured residents that it is still safe to go outside, but people should practice social distancing while doing so. Inslee said that people distancing themselves from each other is the only weapon we have against this new virus.
“The less time you spend out in public, the more lives we can save,” said Inslee. “Life will go on.”
The more stringent measures come as the state continues to work to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. More than 2,000 people in the state of Washington have COVID-19 and there are likely thousands more that have yet to be diagnosed. More than 100 people have died from the virus statewide.
KOIN 6 News will update this story as more details become available.
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