Nov 16, 2020 - Health

Washington state announces new restrictions to combat "raging" pandemic

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee holds a press conference on COVID-19 cases in March
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee during a news conference in Seattle earlier this year. Photo: Elaine Thompson/Pool/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced Sunday new restrictions to mitigate surging COVID-19 cases, as he warned the state is "in a more dangerous position than we were in March, when our first stay-at-home order was issued."

What he's saying: Inslee said if left unchecked, the "raging" pandemic "will assuredly result in grossly overburdened hospitals and morgues, and keep people from obtaining routine by necessary medical treatment for non-COVID conditions."

"The time has come to reinstate some of the restrictions on activities statewide to preserve our well-being and to save lives."

The big picture: Under new measures on social gatherings that'll run from Monday at midnight through Dec. 14, indoor catch-ups with people outside the household will be prohibited unless quarantine conditions are met beforehand. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to five people.

  • From Tuesday, gyms and some entertainment centers must close their indoor services.
  • Retailers including grocery stores, along with personal services such as barbershops and salons, must limit indoor occupancy to 25%.
  • From Wednesday, restaurants and bars will have to limit outdoor service to parties of five or fewer and indoor service will be prohibited.

For the record: In Washington state, more than 2,500 people died from COVID-19, 130,000 have tested positive and 9,400-plus have been hospitalized, official figures show.

  • The state has seen "consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks," per a statement from the governor's office.
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