Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced new restrictions aimed at reducing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Inslee’s executive order prohibits indoor social gatherings for people that don’t include immediate family members, unless the people who attend quarantine for 14 days before gatherings.
The order allows outdoor gatherings, but with no more than five people at a time.
At restaurants and bars, the order forbids indoor dining, though it allows outdoor service, take out and pick up.
The order requires grocery stores and other retailers to limit capacity to more than 25%. Inslee says the current restrictions restrict capacity to 30%. It makes the same demands on church services, 25% capacity or up to 200 people, whichever is less. The governor’s order prohibits group music performances, but allows solo performers.
The governor says this round of restrictions is scheduled to begin at the end of the day Monday and sunset on December 14. He says schools and child care centers are not affected by Sunday's announcement.
Inslee says the guidelines he announced on Sunday are not as stringent as the ‘stay-at-home’ orders he imposed in March. Still, he admitted they will continue to be a hardship on businesses that have struggled most of the year.
The governor announced another $50 million in additional aid to help businesses and workers. He didn’t specify industry sectors that will be targeted, but promised more information on that later this week. He says grants and loans will be available by the end of the year and will be used to leverage more money from other sources. The governor called on the people to contact their congressional members to pressure the federal government to enact more pandemic aid, including extensions of payments to people who are unemployed.