Washington's restrictions on gatherings extended through Christmas and New Year's

Dec 8 2020, 11:47 am

In response to increasing daily COVID-19 case counts and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced a further three-week statewide set of restrictions.

The restrictions have been in effect since Monday, November 16 at 11:59 pm and will remain in effect until Monday, January 4.

“This is because we remain concerned about COVID activity and we still do not have a clear picture of the situation following the Thanksgiving weekend,” Inslee said in a press conference.

Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for 14 days prior to the gathering, or for seven days prior to the gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48 hours prior to the gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.

For long-term care facilities, only outdoor visits will be allowed. Indoor visits may be permitted for essential support persons or end-of-life care.

Religious services will be limited to 25% indoor capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. Choirs, bands, and ensembles are prohibited from performing.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies can go on with limited attendance, but receptions of any size are prohibited indoors.

Indoor service will be closed at fitness facilities and gyms, and youth and adult amateur sporting activities are limited to outdoors only with facial coverings. Bowling alleys, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theatres will be closed for indoor services.

Restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service, with to-go services and restricted outdoor dining allowed. In-store retail, grocery stores, and personal services are limited to 25% of occupancy.

Inslee said it’s possible that improvements in infection rates could lead him to “recalibrate” restrictions, but said “we don’t know enough yet about the pandemic’s course to be able to do that. This remains an extremely alarming situation.”