Severity: Warning Alert      

Transportation: Officials in Washington State, US, to tighten restrictions on businesses from July 30 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 28 Jul 2020 12:51 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 11 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Washington State (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Likely business disruptions

Officials in Washington State have announced additional restrictions on several businesses and events, starting July 30, to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Authorities have ordered indoor entertainment centers statewide, including bowling alleys and card rooms, to remain closed. Starting July 30, bars will not be allowed to offer indoor service, and all gaming and social areas in restaurants must close. Alcohol sales must end daily at 2200. Starting Aug. 10, wedding and funeral receptions will be prohibited, and ceremonies must be limited to 20 percent of the venue's capacity, or a maximum of 30 people. Officials had previously banned all live entertainment events statewide, indoors and outdoors, including drive-in concerts, comedy clubs and music at restaurants.

Other newly imposed restrictions will affect individual counties depending on which phase of the state's economic reopening plan they are currently in. Under the recovery plan, counties progress from one phase to the next once they have met 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 starting July 30, and movie theaters may open at 25-percent capacity. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. All other businesses may operate, except for those previously specified. As of July 28, 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 July 28, 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 offer curbside pickup services. Restaurants may offer delivery and pickup services only. Outdoor recreation activities, such as fishing, hunting, golf, and boating, are allowed. As of July 28, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, and Yakima counties remain under Phase 1. In Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties, outdoor dining in restaurants, and in-person services at retail stores at 15-percent capacity are allowed.

Transport and business disruptions are likely. 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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