Gov. Inslee bans groups over 50 people and orders restaurants and bars to close

Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open, and restaurants can still do take-out and delivery

SEATTLE — Gov. Jay Inslee, on Sunday night, issued an executive order banning all gatherings of more than 50 people statewide, closing restaurants and bars for dine-in customers, as well as entertainment and recreational facilities, including movie theaters and bowling alleys.

Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order Sunday night closing restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, in addition to banning gatherings of more than 50 people. Image courtesy Office of Washington State Governor
Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order Sunday night closing restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, in addition to banning gatherings of more than 50 people. Image courtesy Office of Washington State Governor

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease,” Inslee said in a statement. “I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.”

Inslee noted that restaurants can still provide take-out and delivery business. Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, and other retail outlets will have “reduced occupancy.”

King County, which raised its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 420 on Sunday, including 32 new cases and 37 deaths, will implement the closures effective immediately. No timeline was given for other counties to follow suit.

Further details were expected to be announced on Monday morning.

he church of the Nazarene in Ridgefield was largely empty Sunday as most churches moved their services online. Photo by Mike Schultz
The church of the Nazarene in Ridgefield was largely empty Sunday as most churches moved their services online. Photo by Mike Schultz

Washington state, especially the Seattle area, has been among the hardest hit areas in the United States with the new coronavirus. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control issued its own guidelines urging that gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed to slow the spread of the virus.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also ordered that restaurants and bars go take-out only, shutting down nightlife in the city that never sleeps. The city was also considering even more intensive measures, including possible lockdowns in highly impacted areas.

Most churches in Clark County went to having services online Sunday, and usually full parking lots were empty across the area.

St. Philip Catholic Church in Woodland was empty on Sunday as churches canceled services or moved them online during the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by Mike Schultz
St. Philip Catholic Church in Woodland was empty on Sunday as churches canceled services or moved them online during the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by Mike Schultz

Grocery stores still reported long lines in the morning, and things like toilet paper, diapers, and cleaning products remained difficult to find. But most restaurants said they were seeing very light business this weekend compared to usual, and streets were much emptier around town than normal by Sunday evening.

Schools across the west coast will be closed on Monday, through at least April 24. Though some districts said they would be using buses to provide lunches to needy children during the closure.

Clark County Today will continue to update our list of closures, and bring you the latest information both here and on social media.


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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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