Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Washington State, US, tighten restrictions on gatherings, ban live events due to increased COVID-19 activity as of July 21.

  • Alert Begins: 22 Jul 2020 12:05 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 05 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 imposed additional restrictions as of July 21 due to and increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in the state. The new measures include a ban on all live entertainment events statewide, indoors or outdoors, including drive-in concerts, comedy clubs, and music in restaurants. Moreover, restrictions on gatherings in counties currently under Phase 3 of Washington's four-stage economic recovery plan have been tightened to limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Under Washington State's 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 on Phase 4. Aside from the newly imposed restrictions on gatherings, Phase 3 allows nonessential travel to resume; restaurants, theathers, and bars may reopen, albeit with limitations on their operating capacities. All other businesses may operate, except as specifically stipulated otherwise.

As of July 21, countines under Phase 3 include Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbour, 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. Businesses and facilities that reopen must comply with strict mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including limitations on operating capacity, enhanced sanitization measures, enforcing social distancing guidelines, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), among other directives. Requirements may vary by industry or type of establishments.

As of July 21, 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 that were underway, 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. In Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties, outdoor dining in restaurants, and in-person services at retail stores at 15 percent capacity are allowed. Outdoor recreation activities, such as fishing, hunting, golf, and boating, are allowed.

As of July 21, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, and Yakima counties remain under Phase 1.

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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