‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ limits Washingtonians social interaction

“It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight”

Gov. Jay Inslee

Only essential businesses and service will remain open

OLYMPIA – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to fight the spread of COVID-19 by expanding measures to reduce social interactions.

Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee

“We have now confirmed that more than 2,000 Washingtonians have contracted the virus. There are likely thousands more that have not yet been diagnosed,” said Inslee in a televised address last Monday night. “COVID-19 has taken more than 100 lives in our state, a number that will also continue to rise. Our hearts ache for all of the Washingtonians and their families affected by this virus. As we move forward, we cannot forget the losses they have suffered. This is a human tragedy, on a scale we cannot project.”

The order includes a ban on all gatherings, and closures of many businesses, unless those businesses are essential to the healthy functioning of our community, or are able to let employees work remotely from home.

“It is still safe to go outside using social distancing of six feet, but only for essential purposes. The grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open. This also does not prohibit people from merely going outside to enjoy a walk on a sunny spring day,” said the governor. “The less time you spend out in public, the more lives we can save; the more time we can buy to fight the waves coming down on us now and in the immediate future.”

The governor went on to say the order builds on other unprecedented steps the state has taken to protect Washingtonians, including the closure of schools, restaurants, entertainment venues and other businesses where people congregate. We have been thoughtful and deliberate in making these tough choices.

“I have been very clear on the need for Washingtonians to stay home, but I have heard from health professionals, local officials and others, that people still — still — aren’t practicing these precautions. That is one reason why I am taking these steps,” he said.

The goal is designed to reduce social interactions where this highly contagious virus can spread.

“This weapon, distancing ourselves, is the only weapon against this virus. And we have proven that it can work, but only if we actually use it,” he said.

Here is what the order will do, effective for a minimum of two weeks:

It essentially requires every Washingtonian to minimize physical contact with others, unless they are pursuing essential activities, like grocery shopping, going to a doctor’s appointment or the pharmacy, or if they work at a business deemed essential to continue functioning during an emergency.