Here's what the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order means for Seattleites

Mar 24 2020, 11:10 am

On Monday night, Governor Jay Inslee ordered Washingtonians to stay home and stay healthy.

His thirteen-minute address urged Seattleites to stay home as much as possible, limiting trips outside to only ones of necessity.

“These measures are more to reduce social interactions, physical interactions, where this highly contagious virus can spread… Distancing ourselves is the only weapon we can use.”

Although he was straightforward in his address, many Seattleites are still confused as to what exactly the order entails.

We’ve broken it down for you.

What does the proclamation mean?

All people in Washington state are prohibited from leaving their homes or participating in social, spiritual, and recreational gatherings unless it’s to participate in essential activities.

What activities are considered essential?

According to Governor Inslee, there are four essential activities currently permitted in the state of Washington:

  • Going out for necessary supplies and services for family or household members and pets, including groceries, food and supplies for household consumption and work from home, and products necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and essential maintenance of the home or residence.
  • Seeking medical or behavioral health or emergency services and going out for medical supplies or medication.
  • Caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence.
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running or biking, but only if appropriate social distancing practices are used.

What businesses are considered essential?

Essential businesses include those in the healthcare or public health sector, emergency services sector, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation and logistics, communications and information technology, and community-based government operations and essential functions. A full list of essential businesses can be found here.

Are restaurants closing?

No. Restaurants will stay open for carry-out and delivery.

Are grocery stores and pharmacies closing?

No. Both are considered essential and will not be closing.

Are food banks staying open?

Yes. Those in need of food from one of Seattle’s food banks will still be able to access necessities.

Can I be fined for leaving my house? 

No. As long as you’re following social distancing and only leaving the house for essentials, you’re not going to be fined. You can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — as long as you follow social distancing rules.