Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Washington State, US, extend order requiring residents to stay at home, nonessential businesses to close until at least May 4.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Bellingham, Washington
  • Wenatchee, Washington
  • Tri-Cities (Kennewick-Pasco-Richland), Washington
  • Everett, Washington
  • Yakima, Washington
  • Walla Walla, Washington
  • Olympia, Washington
  • Oak Harbor, Washington
  • Pullman, Washington
  • Richland, Washington

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 18:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Washington State (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 4
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee extended orders that require residents to stay at home and nonessential businesses to close until at least May 4, as part of the state's efforts to combat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which has been in place since March 25, stipulates that residents may only leave their homes for essential tasks, such as obtaining basic goods, attending a medical issue, caring for a person in need, or to attend work at an essential business or service. People may also perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others. The orders to require all nonessential businesses be closed and to ban gatherings will also remain in place until at least May 4. Among the businesses that may continue functioning are healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and grocery stores, as well as those related to energy, security, agriculture, transport, and communications. All other businesses must end in-person services, but their employees may continue working from home.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Washington State authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Washington State - Coronavirus Response: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

Washington State Governor - Stay at Home Order: www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-25%20Coronovirus%20Stay%20Safe-Stay%20Healthy%20%28tmp%29%20%28002%29.pdf

Washington State Governor - Stay at Home Order Extension: www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-25.1%20-%20COVID-19%20-%20Stay%20Home%2C%20Stay%20Healthy%20Extension%20%28tmp%29.pdf