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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