Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office has modified rules for venues that feature entertainment that strictly prohibit live music in areas that are still in phase two - or even phase three - designations because of the Covid virus.
Late last week, the governor's office issued a new order that completely prohibited live music of any type in establishments licensed as a bar or restaurant in counties that are classified as phase two or three.
A governor's office spokesman, Nick Strueli, says the intent isn't just focused on music, but all live entertainment in those businesses.
“What we're getting at, what the public health and safety experts are sort of coalescing around, is some concern with the rising case counts we're seeing across the state, and how the act of individuals mingling and lingering in spaces for a long period of time is really contributing to the transmission of Covid-19," he said.
But that order has left some loopholes. In Spokane, more than one business continued to have live music over the past weekend. Some are still promoting upcoming live music events. Many were in outside areas, where theoretically the virus wouldn't be as much of a threat. But the order does not differentiate between indoor or outdoor performances.
One club owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told SPR that the order does not apply to him, because he doesn't hold a license identifying him as a bar or a restaurant. He had live music last weekend.
The governor's spokesman says it's clear the language of the order will have to be reexamined.
“We recognize there currently is sort of a gray area, so I think we'd hope to provide some additional information or clarification on the live entertainment prohibition,” he said.
Streuli says, currently, enforcement plans would revolve around educating an offender on the need to prohibit live music events. He says it is possible that continued complaints could be referred to the licensing entity for that particular type of business.