Indoor dining at restaurants will now be limited to members of the same household
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced rollbacks today to previous restrictions outlined in his four-phased reopening plan. In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Inslee stated that as a result of a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the state he was implementing new restrictions and an expansion of the state’s face mask mandate.
“These actions we are taking today is certainly not an effort to punish businesses,” Inslee said.
Starting Saturday (July 25), face masks will be required in common areas such as elevators and shared spaces in apartment complexes and nursing homes.
Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman said face masks will help curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We must dig back in to regain control,” said Wiesman, referring to the start of the pandemic when the state had increased restrictions.
Indoor dining at restaurants will now be limited to members of the same household. Mixed groups will have the option to eat outside. Alcohol sales must end at 10 p.m. Bars will have to close indoor services and can only serve people outside. Bars will also have to close game areas like pool tables, video games and dartboards.
Fitness centers will also be forced to have limited capacity. Fitness centers and gyms in Phase 2 counties, such as Clark County, will be limited to five people.
The increased restrictions for restaurants, bars, gyms and family entertainment centers will go into effect on Thu., July 30.
“These prohibitions are a part of our approach but they only supplement what we really need which is for individuals to make individual decisions for the good of the community,” Inslee said, stressing the importance of wearing face coverings in public and continuing to socially distance.
There will also be changes for wedding ceremonies and funeral services.
Receptions are no longer allowed. Ceremonies are permitted with 20 percent occupancy or 30 people, whichever is less, and people must maintain six feet of physical distance and wear face masks.
The changes for weddings and funerals take effect on August 6.
“But we do know this, at the moment, the only effective tool against this pandemic is to change some of our practices,” Inslee said. “The rate of transmission has been increasing around the state. Our suppression of this virus is not where it needs to be to continue to allow more activity.”
As of Thursday, there are 50,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington. There have been 1,482 deaths from the virus in the state.
According to the Washington Department of Health, a total of 870,763 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Washington and of those 5.7 percent came back positive.
Gov. Inslee also announced Thursday that he’s extending his eviction moratorium until October 15.