Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Washington State, US, maintain stable level of coronavirus-related restrictions as of Sept. 10. No major changes in place.

Alert Begins 10 Sep 2020 09:58 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Washington State (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Likely business disruptions

As of Sept. 10, officials in Washington State are maintaining a number of business and other restrictions in place as part of the state's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These measures have remained largely stable with no significant changes since late July.

Authorities have implemented an economic recovery plan under which individual counties are assessed to be at one of four phases, with specific restrictions being imposed based on local COVID-19 activity. Counties progress from one phase to the next upon meeting certain criteria, including declining COVID-19 activity, declining hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and increased contact-tracing and testing. Phase 4 constitutes the highest level of normalization, with Phase 1 representing the lowest. No county is yet on Phase 4.

Under Phase 3, nonessential travel may resume; restaurants may offer indoor service but must be limited to 50-percent capacity and movie theaters may open at 25-percent capacity. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. All other businesses may operate, except where specified otherwise. As of Sept. 10, the counties on Phase 3 are: Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, and Whitman.

Under Phase 2, residents 65 years and older and those with underlying health conditions are urged, but not required, to remain at home except to perform essential tasks. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Outdoor recreational activities are allowed, provided participants comply with the limit on gatherings. Certain businesses are allowed to operate, including manufacturing and constructions companies, retail stores, office-based businesses, outdoor dining at restaurants, personal care businesses, libraries, and drive-in movies. As of Sept. 10, the counties under Phase 2 are: Adams, Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Whatcom.

Under Phase 1, residents 65 years and older and those with underlying health conditions must remain home except to perform essential tasks, and gatherings are banned. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and those in security, public utilities, transport, media, and critical manufacturing, may remain open. Additionally, construction projects, landscaping, auto and boat sales, and car washes may open, and retail stores may operate at 30 percent capacity. Restaurants may offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity and outdoor dining at 50 percent. Outdoor recreation activities, such as fishing, hunting, golf, and boating, are allowed. As of Sept. 10, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, and Yakima counties remain under Phase 1.

Statewide, bars are not allowed to offer indoor service, and all gaming and social areas in restaurants must remain closed. Alcohol sales must end daily at 2200. Wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited, and ceremonies must be limited to 20 percent of the venue's capacity, up to a maximum of 30 people. Officials have also banned all indoor and outdoor live entertainment events statewide, including drive-in concerts, comedy club performances, and music at restaurants.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Confirm appointments.

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.

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