Washington Governor Jay Inslee

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A new Washington mask mandate goes into effect today. It applies to crowds of more than 500 people in outdoor settings, even for people who have been vaccinated.

“For anyone wondering why we are doing this, I guess it should be pretty obvious. It’s because we’re seeing evidence of transmission, unfortunately, in outdoor settings. The Watershed Festival at the Gorge led to more than 200 infections from that one event and it was outdoors," said Governor Jay Inslee last week.

Washington Mask Mandate Goes Into Effect Today

Aug 23, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Governor Jay Inslee’s order goes into effect today [Monday].

“Restaurants and offices. Shops. It covers everyone in a public-facing setting, regardless of vaccination status. So, in a place that is open to the public, everyone needs to wear their mask in those conditions," he said.

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As wildfires burn around Washington, the state’s Department of Ecology has declared a climate emergency for most of the state. During a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee said most of the state is unnaturally dry.

Courtney Flatt/NW Public Broadcasting

Tribes across the Northwest called for immediate action to remove the four Lower Snake River dams during a two-day Salmon and Orca summit in western Washington. The group called on President Biden and congressional members to “take bold action, now.”

Governors Inslee, Little Say Idaho And Washington Nearing COVID-19 Goals

Jun 10, 2021

More than two-thirds of Washington residents 16 and older have had at least their first COVID shots. That puts the state just four percentage points away from 70%, the goal Governor Jay Inslee established to reopen the state before June 30.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane’s Catalyst Building at the south end of the University District received a visit Tuesday from an eager and interested state official, Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The building is known for its main building material, cross-laminated timber, and its energy efficiency.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced the state will wait two weeks before deciding whether to shift counties up or down in the coronavirus reopening protocol.

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Washington health officials say a dozen counties are in danger of moving back to Phase 2, or perhaps even Phase 1, in the state’s coronavirus reopening plan.

They include rural Ferry County.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Washington state health officials plan to announce today [Monday] whether any of the state’s 39 counties will have their Covid phase status changed.

“The good news is that we’re making progress in communities across the state, but there are communities or counties where we are seeing increases that are of concern," said Health Secretary Umair Shah.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state will soon make Covid vaccine available to anyone older than 16, effective April 15.

Inslee made his announcement this afternoon [Wednesday].

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state is adopting new school distancing recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That guidance will allow schools to return with less space to have to be reserved in the classroom, approximately three feet instead of six," he said.

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The Washington and Idaho legislatures are right in the thick of their 2021 sessions. Idaho lawmakers expect to finish by March 26. Washington’s session is scheduled to end on April 25.

Even during sessions held during a pandemic, people who can’t travel to Olympia or Boise can keep an eye on what their elected representatives are doing. In Idaho, most of the proceedings are viewable online through Idaho Public Television. In Washington, coverage is provided by TVW.

Rebecca White/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says school districts must now offer in-person options for children to attend school.

“By April 5, all students in kindergarten-through-six must have the opportunity to engage in an onsite, hybrid model of instruction. By April 19, all other K-through-12 students must be offered a hybrid model of instruction," Inslee said on Friday.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Governor Jay Inslee says Washington will follow President Joe Biden’s directive and prioritize teachers and childcare workers for Covid vaccinations.
Inslee issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that says the state is moving teachers and licensed childcare workers to the first tier of the 1-B coronavirus vaccination level.

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The Washington and Idaho legislatures are different in many ways. Democrats control both chambers in Olympia. Republicans are in charge in Boise.

But the pandemic has united legislators in the two states in one specific way. They’re each working to increase their authority during emergencies by calling themselves into special sessions. 

Rebecca White/SPR

State leaders and public health officials are urging Washington residents to continue to take health precautions as a more infectious variant of COVID-19 is discovered in the state.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delivered the message during a tour of Spokane's Stevens Elementary School on Tuesday.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane public health officials say a Covid mass vaccination site at the Spokane Arena could be up and running by next Monday.

Last Monday, Governor Jay Inslee announced the arena would be one of a handful of sites outside the Seattle metro area that would open to vaccinate large numbers of people.

Courtesy of Ferry County Memorial Hospital

It’s the third week of Covid vaccinations in Washington. Hospitals and other health care facilities are making varying degrees of progress.

In Republic, local hospital officials expect to begin administering second doses of the two-dose regimen this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

WA Governor Announces New Covid Reopening Plan

Jan 5, 2021
Washington Governor's Office

Governor Jay Inslee announced today [Tuesday] Washington will take measures to begin easing its restrictions again on activities related to the coronavirus.

“It includes a small resumption of activities statewide. This includes live entertainment with very tight restrictions. We’re talking about ticketing groups of 10, as well as certain fitness programs," Inslee said.

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The group of Western scientists that reviews Covid vaccine decisions made by the Food and Drug Administration has approved the new Moderna vaccine.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Sunday the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has voted unanimously to put this second vaccine on the market.

Inslee’s office says the governor expects the first doses of the Moderna vaccine to begin arriving in Olympia this week.

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The Covid train continues to roll in Spokane County. The health district on Tuesday reported 234 new cases. Taken over a two-week period, that’s about 560 cases per hundred thousand residents.

Spokane COVID Response

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

Spokane County registered more than 900 new Covid cases from Saturday through Monday. That included a record 425 on Saturday, followed by 300 on Sunday and 217 on Monday.

Inslee Announces New Round Of Covid-Related Restrictions

Nov 15, 2020
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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.

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the first lady, Trudi Inslee, today [Thursday] encouraged state residents to adjust their holiday plans.

During a statewide address on TVW, the Inslees said it’s too dangerous for large gatherings of family and friends at a time when Covid numbers are surging around the state.

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Governor Jay Inslee says his state will join other western states to review Covid vaccines, when they become available. Also during a press conference on Tuesday, the governor urged Idahoans to wear their masks when around others.

TVW Video Voters' Guide

Tonight [Wednesday], Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Republican Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, will hold their first and only debate.

We’ll preview tonight’s forum with their statements for TVW’s Video Voters Guide series.


Washington has crossed the 80,000 threshold in total number of confirmed coronavirus cases. And it recently passed 2,000 Covid fatalities.

Those are two big milestones, but state officials are optimistic about the trends. That leads, again, to speculation that maybe it’s time to allow counties to advance in the reopening protocol.


Washington Governor Jay Inslee has released what he calls a “decision tree” to help school districts decide how to teach students this fall.

The governor has three levels of recommendations, including for districts in counties with higher Covid spread rates.

Inslee Announces A Round Of New Restrictions

Jul 23, 2020

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday announced new restrictions as the state crossed the 50,000 mark in confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We know that fewer, shorter and safer interactions are absolutely crucial in this fight," the governor said.

Brownes Addtion Concert Series


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.