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Governor Inslee announces new COVID-19 restrictions in Washington State

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced new statewide restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, which includes closing indoor service for restaurants and bars.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Tap here for the latest information. 

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced new statewide restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, which includes closing indoor service for restaurants and bars and prohibiting indoor social gatherings. 

These rules will mostly go into effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until Dec. 14. 

The announcement comes following days of increasing COVID-19 cases.

The impacted industries/areas are: 

  • The biggest impact will be the closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size limited to 5 for outdoor dining. These restaurant restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
  • In-store retail limited to 25% indoor occupancy and must close any common/congregate non-food-related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.
  • Indoor social gatherings from people outside your household are prohibited and outdoor social gatherings should be limited to 5 people outside your household.  
  • Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above.
  • Wedding and funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
  • All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Movie theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still permitted and must follow the current drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Religious services limited to 25% indoor occupancy no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service.
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.

During an 11 a.m. press conference, Inslee announced $50 million for aid to businesses who have been impacted.

The Washington State Department of Health announced Washington had reported a record number of new coronavirus cases Friday, with 2,147. The department reported over a thousand new cases a day every day last week, according to a release. 

A dozen counties in Washington, including Spokane, are seeing "steep increases" in cases, according to the DOH. 

The Spokane Regional Health District has reported over one hundred new cases a day from Nov. 5 through Nov. 13, when SRHD reported 191 cases. During that time period, SRHD also reported Spokane County's biggest spike in new cases, with 347 reported on Nov. 7. 

“We all must take immediate action if we want to avoid overwhelming our hospital systems,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman in a release Friday. “And we must take action now to save lives—lives of the people we care for and love.”

On Friday, Nov. 13, Inslee issued a travel advisory asking out of state visitors to quarantine for two weeks after their arrival to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The advisory also recommended individuals limit their interactions to their immediate households. 

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Inslee held a press conference asking Washington residents not to travel for Thanksgiving as coronavirus cases spike around the country. 

“COVID cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks. This puts our state in as dangerous a position today as we were in March,” Inslee said in a release. “Limiting and reducing travel is one way to reduce the further spread of the disease. I am happy to partner with California and Oregon in this effort to help protect lives up and down the West Coast.” 

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward took to Twitter to express her concerns over how the restrictions will impact Spokane businesses and residents.

"Biggest concern: will closure of restaurants/bars direct more people to risky behavior that's causing spikes in cases - private gathering?" Woodward wrote. "Can't we provide an outlet & tweak hours/drinks served?"

"Spokane County has funneled $100+ million in CARES Act funding to small businesses, nonprofits, rent relief, childcare, educational support, etc. How do we survive this next shutdown?" Woodward wrote. 

You can watch the press conference live on KREM.com.