UPDATE: Governor announces ‘stay-home order to fight this virus’; see the list of ‘essential businesses’

5:31 PM: Gov. Jay Inslee is speaking right now, for an address billed as outlining “enhanced strategies” for dealing with COVID-19. He’s announced a “stay-home order” that he says will result in the closure of more businesses. That doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house, he says. It “builds on” previous orders. He says that though he’s already asked people to stay home, not everyone is heeding the call. “This weapon, this distancing ourselves, is the only weapon we have against this virus.”

It’s in effect for “at least two weeks,” he says. “This does not mean you can’t go outside” for a walk or bike ride, or to go to work in an “essential” industry. But the order bans ALL social/spiritual/ recreational gatherings – no beach parties, no pick-up sports, no wedding or funeral gatherings. The order takes effect in 48 hours, he says. He says the definition of “essential” largely follows federal guidelines.”The media will continue to operate as well,” he adds after listing health, emergency, defense industries. For restaurants, to-go and delivery service CAN CONTINUE, he says.

Inslee says they expect people will voluntarily comply – but if they don’t, the order is enforceable by law. He says this is tough but “we want to get back to normal as soon as humanly possible … (to do that) we need to hit this hard.”

He urges people NOT to make a run on grocery stores. And he advises turning “to what gives you hope.” He also lauds health-care workers and emergency responders as heroes.

“This challenge is temporary,” he offers in reassurance. “Every Washingtonian needs to enlist in this tumultuous struggle … if we are to win.”

He offers the new slogan “stay home, stay healthy” again in closing. We’ll be looking for more details on the specifics and will add them here as we get them. Also, he has a media briefing at 6:15 pm and we’ll add any additional details that come from that.

6 PM: Here’s the governor’s writeup on Medium. Not seeing the actual text of the order yet.

6:16 PM: The media briefing with various state officials has begun. One clarification: This is NOT “shelter in place” – that’s a term “for hurricanes” or shootings, you SHOULD go outside, they stress, but it’s a “full suite of things that can be enforced by law.” They say they talked to many local officials around the state to come up with the list.

Q&A: How many people can you be outside with? Your household members. Not even with friends or neighbors unless you’re at least six feet apart. If you break any of these laws, it is a gross misdemeanor. Are construction workers “essential”? Those on the call said they’re not sure – definitely if you’re, say, building a new hospital, but otherwise, they’re checking.

Can the order be renewed after two weeks? Yes. What would lead to an end of the order? Factors such as, what are they seeing in case count? Average incubation is 5-6 days, but can be up to two weeks. Also, the stress on the health-care system, as they’re trying to “prevent it from being … so stressed that we can’t protect our health-care workers.” And – “how well people are heeding this warning.” Is it OK to drive somewhere, like to an out-of-town trail? Yes, but not with a group of people from outside your household. What about June brides? “I’m not going to tell June brides to start canceling … that one’s hard to call.”

6:58 PM: Briefing’s over. Here’s the list of “essential businesses.”

77 Replies to "UPDATE: Governor announces 'stay-home order to fight this virus'; see the list of 'essential businesses'"

  • Jennifer M March 23, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    Please keep telling us what he’s saying. Live stream dead at 5:32pm. Thanks!!

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (5:53 pm)

      Briefing ended. There should be an archived copy of the video soon in the same video. We will add notes from the 6:15 media briefing once that happens, and I’ll also add links as soon as they turn up – looking for the proclamation and other details …

  • Vic March 23, 2020 (5:46 pm)

    Good. Hope its enforced. Take out is only essential if you don’t have the means or ability or space to cook your own food. Good for those businesses to keep some income, though.

    • hj March 23, 2020 (8:37 pm)

      Who is going to peek inside everyone’s home to ensure that people who get takeout don’t have the means, ability or space to cook for themselves? Nobody, because that’s silly.

    • WR March 23, 2020 (10:12 pm)

      This literally just cost me my job. 

  • Greg March 23, 2020 (5:47 pm)

    I’m sure that the right-wing loons and conspiracy theory nay-sayers will have their say here, but I for one am grateful for such a good governor.  I’m glad we have intelligent people making decisions based on expert knowledge and that the vast majority of my fellow Washingtonians are taking this seriously and supporting each other.  It’s good to see.  Thank you too to the WSB for always being on top of everything and being a great resource for information.

    • KM March 23, 2020 (6:00 pm)

      Well said, Greg!

    • Alki Guy March 23, 2020 (6:03 pm)

      This isn’t a right or a left wing pandemic pretty sure to fix us all exactly the same.

    • Bradley March 23, 2020 (6:05 pm)

      At least half of the paranoid, delusional types spreading conspiracy theories out there are left-wing loons. Particularly the one about our own Bill Gates and retiring CEOs being responsible for COVID-19. Nuts and the mentally ill abound on both sides of the political aisle. I like the ban on public groups of ANY size, but I’m not happy about Staples, jewelry stores, thrift stores, and other specialty retailers having to idle.

      • Dude March 23, 2020 (6:16 pm)

        Bill Gates guilty for covid? Whoa

      • Bill April 8, 2020 (9:28 am)

        Actually, the real loonies out there are those religious cultists who ignore self-distancing and continue to gather at their churches will little to no regard for the health consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, most if not all of these nut-jobs are right-wingers

    • run_dmc March 23, 2020 (6:52 pm)

      Yawn – Thanks for making this about politics and your dislike of people who disagree with you.    And, if we have such a great governor, why has he not been paying attention to our state’s infrastructure – like the West Seattle bridge which is now closing indefinitely – rather than some lunatic run for President.  (I would say that regardless of his party affiliation).

      • WSB March 23, 2020 (8:35 pm)

        The WS Bridge is a city structure, not state.

        • run_dmc March 23, 2020 (9:53 pm)

          Sorry, but part of the problem – not just in Seattle, but across the country – is that none of our public sector “leadership” works together on essential infrastructure issues.  The state says a major city’s major artery is a “city” structure, so passes the buck.  But, then closing it down affects thousands (if not more) people in the state.  Our governor should still be paying attention to issues across the state that affect our overall transportation and working with county and city public officials to be proactive.  This doesn’t exonerate any of our city officials who have been too busy with their own political ambitions to keep focused on what matters.

      • Hahaha March 23, 2020 (8:40 pm)

        An attempt was made. 

  • Wolfgang March 23, 2020 (5:50 pm)

    Can we get a list of all ESSENTIAL places that will remain open during this, hard to know what qualifies as everything from pot shops to the hardware store and nursery are open.

  • Pilsner March 23, 2020 (5:52 pm)

    Oh baby. Time to REALLY rack up some hours on the home flight simulator!

  • Intelligent human March 23, 2020 (5:55 pm)

    Well, I guess everyone can watch idiocracy in real life now…the actors have changed but the reality is it’s happening. Good luck everyone!

    • Pilsner March 23, 2020 (6:35 pm)

      Thank you

  • Carol March 23, 2020 (6:01 pm)

    Michelle Obama recommended several things such as buying gift certificates to give to people such as grocery store cashiers who are on the front line. Also calling local fire dept or hospital to see if you can offer to buy takeout for them. Both seem like awesome ideas to support local businesses and say thank you.

  • Amy March 23, 2020 (6:01 pm)

    Should I reschedule my oil change? Lol…

    • The King March 23, 2020 (7:25 pm)

      I’ll do it for three rolls of toilet paper :)

      • wsresident March 23, 2020 (8:48 pm)

        TP, the new currency…

  • Karen March 23, 2020 (6:04 pm)

    THANK YOU WSB for all of your important updated information that keeps this community going. Stay strong WS

  • Jim P. March 23, 2020 (6:08 pm)

    “He urges people NOT to make a run on grocery stores.”
    As though that will bring sanity to the panic-crazed mobs acting as if the last trainload of food just pulled in ahead of the Martian-led ground assault.

    • NoLongerPatsFanPNW March 23, 2020 (6:24 pm)

      The first thing I thought was, oh boy, gotta get to the grocery store tomorrow.  Would be helpful if I could get an Amazon Fresh time slot.  Instacart a week out.  Have a high-vulnerability household member so delivery is the only lifeline.

      • C.A. March 23, 2020 (6:35 pm)

        I finally snagged a Wednesday Amazon Fresh delivery (my husband and I are in the immune-compromised/higher risk group) after many unsuccessful attempts. I had to fill my cart and then just keep checking back throughout the day/late night, last night. If you can, try around midnight and beyond. Good luck and take care!

      • CAM March 23, 2020 (7:38 pm)

        Agree with C.A.  Amazon releases new times at midnight-ish. You have to refresh the app to get them to show up. Close the app completely and restart it after midnight and you’ll see the times available for the third day out. 

      • Lauren March 23, 2020 (7:51 pm)

        I also have an immune-compromised household member. Here’s a TIP: as soon as you place an instacart order, place another one with random stuff just to hold your place in line. You can edit your cart to the things you actually need a few hours before they are to start shopping for your order. This is what I’ve been doing the past few weeks so I can still get a delivery once per week.

  • Lena March 23, 2020 (6:09 pm)

    I’m assuming us veterinarians are still essential – is there a list somewhere?

    • WSB March 23, 2020 (6:12 pm)

      I’m still watching for the list/proclamation. Not seeing it yet.

    • NoLongerPatsFanPNW March 23, 2020 (6:25 pm)

      Better be…we’re scheduled to pick up our new pup on the 2nd…a little slice of sanity….

    • Manderley March 23, 2020 (7:04 pm)

      Sorry, but you guys should stop your practice for the time being.  No animal life is worth endangering a human life.  Let the hate begin :-) 

      • WSB March 23, 2020 (7:06 pm)

        Veterinary clinic workers ARE considered “essential” — see page 2.

        • KM March 23, 2020 (7:21 pm)

          That’s great news. I’ve cancelled our cats check-ups for the time being as he is otherwise healthy, but it’s great to know there are emergency/urgent options available.

        • Lena March 23, 2020 (7:41 pm)

          Thank you!

      • Marianne March 23, 2020 (8:24 pm)

        Manderley,  You might need a veterinarian since I don’t think most other health clinics and hospitals will see trolls.

        • Mr J March 24, 2020 (12:20 pm)

          Yes to this👆🏻

    • Vic March 23, 2020 (7:31 pm)

      For critical care and surgeries, yes. As per my vets (West Seattle animal hospital and Northeast Vet who is doing curbside only, no one allowed inside…and Seattle Veterinary Specialists-doing important surgery fr my foster dog this wednesday).Dental and grooming appointments not being schedule as not essential (got a long haired pet? Better keep up on brushing those matts).

  • AlkiRes March 23, 2020 (6:29 pm)

    Will Home Depot still be open?  Also how do you repair cracks in a bridge?  Spackle?Asking for a friend.

    • WestSeattleMom2 March 23, 2020 (8:08 pm)

      Thanks for this. I needed a good laugh after all this! 🤣

    • AMD March 23, 2020 (8:11 pm)

      Hardware stores and nurseries are on the list as “essential” since you need their products to make your home habitable and tend your garden if you grow your own food. 

  • flimflam March 23, 2020 (6:44 pm)

    how are restaurants even remotely “essential”? i work in one, so i know its essential to the owner, but the sentiment of “i’m supporting local businesses” is more for you than me. there is no social distancing in a kitchen, hand off take out food, receiving payment, etc. this order changes very little.

    • Chris March 23, 2020 (7:02 pm)

      Thanks flimflam. I kind of agree. Restaurants seem nonessential unless you are unable to cook at home. I love restaurants (good ones like Oh’s Sandwiches). Hopefully, owners have some reserves to get through this.

    • Vic March 23, 2020 (7:32 pm)

      Was seriously wondering this myself….

      • flimflam March 23, 2020 (8:25 pm)

        imo this is to help free up the state from some unemployment claims…

    • Janelle March 23, 2020 (9:50 pm)

      I was kind of wondering too, but then thought about all the essential workers out there, some putting in long hours, and take-out options are probably helpful for all those folks.

      For those of us who are out of work and home at the moment, I personally don’t see take-out as truly essential, it’s more of a convenience and luxury. I feel torn because I want to support our local restaurants but also want to be responsible and minimize going out as much as possible. :(

      I worry restaurants won’t be able to keep afloat on just take-out orders…  Hopefully there will be recovery assistance for these businesses, and there will surely be a surge of patronage on the other side of this.

  • TJ March 23, 2020 (6:52 pm)

    While I think this is a big overreaction, the writing has been on the wall for days this was coming. He should have done this last week. And to those who blame the “selfish” people who flocked to Alki and parks this past weekend, did you really expect everyone in a town of over 600,000 people to be on board? I’m not saying they were right, but lots of people are going to do what they are going to do.  People aren’t going to go for this shelter in place longer than 2 weeks or even social distancing, and the economy won’t sustain this that long. The government writing checks to people is a 1 time thing, and these other measures are short term band aids until the economy gets moving again in masse. I hope this next week to 2 gets us to where they want this virus to be at. 

  • EJ March 23, 2020 (7:06 pm)

    Way to go Alki Beach. You pissed off the Governor and he put the whole state on restriction. We can’t leave our rooms for 2 weeks. 

  • Phil March 23, 2020 (7:10 pm)

    He is behind the curve. Trying to soft pedal.Should  have done it days ago. Trying  to get votes on less affected area (Eastern Washington)  it’s interesting that Trump never talks about the Governor by name. Just “The State of Washington “I hope he is the is the leader we elected !!

  • Cool Rick March 23, 2020 (7:11 pm)

    June??? There will and should be riots in the streets if this lasts longer than a month.

    • Herongrrrl March 23, 2020 (8:35 pm)

      That’s cool. Anybody wants to riot in the streets over a quarantine to prevent the spread of a deadly disease is welcome to. If we all do what we’re supposed to, along about June that virus will be eager for some new hosts. 

  • Mj March 23, 2020 (7:13 pm)

    Just returned from the Admiral Safeway, apparently the poop has hit the fan, they are out of TP again. This is absurb!

    flimflam people need to eat and shuttering restaurants completely will cause even more severe economic harm.  

    • Lisa March 23, 2020 (10:21 pm)

      I never knew that tp ever returned to the stores, but I haven’t been going in either. I guess I just assumed it’s still been out.

  • Jissy March 23, 2020 (7:43 pm)

    WSB, reason #8,632 I LOVE YOU!!!  Thank you for the 14 page attached document, very clear and understandable.  Keeping a close eye for several friends and family members.  

  • dsa March 23, 2020 (7:53 pm)

    Looking at the essential jobs list it looks more like a stay at home when you are not at work order.

  • M March 23, 2020 (8:31 pm)

    You had me at Pot shops still open. 

  • JM March 23, 2020 (8:36 pm)

    Our household has decided our commitment is to do take out each night at our most beloved restaurants in WS  even though we can easily prepare our dinners at home. We want to support however we can our local restaurants surviving although we know many most likely may not. From my experience starting last Wednesday EVERY restaurant we have done pick up from has practiced not only social distancing protocols and from my perspective superb sanitation practice. They are primarily operating with 2 staff typically one being the owner. I have been informed by all the grateful owners as I’ve picked up my dinner that all money above and beyond the cost of the meal is going to their staff.  Again, we are patronizing the restaurants where we typically patronized before and had and hope to have after this crisis relationships with the owners, the staff or both! We will continue to do this based on the guidance of the CDC that risk for take out/ pick up is very very very low!  We want our community to remain as in tack as possible. I hope others who can will continue to support all of our local businesses in any way possible! 

  • CAM March 23, 2020 (8:55 pm)

    Hopefully people are able to follow the spirit of the order rather than merely doing the bare minimum to be compliant with the letter of the law this time. It isn’t about finding excuses to leave home or make something seem essential. It’s about what do you need to survive. Pot shops are open because for some that is related to health, not for recreation purposes. Nurseries and hardware stores are open because some people grow their own food and your toilet may go haywire in the next 2 weeks, not because you should start a new and unnecessary renovation project that requires multiple trips. The more you stay home, the shorter this will be. If you abuse it or try to find ways around it all you are doing is increasing the likelihood it will be extended. Stay home and be appreciative you have one to stay in. 

  • Rk March 23, 2020 (10:03 pm)

    I’m confused on childcare. Can I still use my home daycare if my husband and I are not part of the essential workforce, but able to work remotely ? 

  • Kae March 24, 2020 (1:29 am)

    Can I drive home at this hour without getting pulled over? 130am

    • WSB March 24, 2020 (1:59 am)

      You aren’t going to get pulled over for driving somewhere.

      • Jt March 24, 2020 (3:09 pm)

        So I still work at a hotel (graveyard shift by myself) from 11pm-7am and my mom is worried about me getting pulled over just for driving can they legally do that? And am i allowed to put in my back seat window that I am going to work at a hotel or is that just too much? Lol I just don’t know what to do and I still have to go to work. 

        • WSB March 24, 2020 (3:19 pm)

          No, they cannot.

    • Rick March 24, 2020 (9:48 am)

      Just try to keep your weaving to a minimum.

  • Concerned & confused March 24, 2020 (2:34 am)

    I understand first responders need childcare, but what happens when 2/3rds of the childcare staff is in high risk? And how do you do social distancing in a childcare?

  • 22blades March 24, 2020 (3:25 am)

    First of all, I want to thank every & anyone helping us here in WS on WSB for providing such a vital AND comforting service. You’re truly a lifeline, especially as we all do our part to get past this emergency. There are those of us who must keep traveling as this all unfolds & you’re like a safety cam on WS. As with any crew in a crisis, please take time to take care of yourself. You are valuable! Again, thank you so much for the service you provide. PS I always thought the term “shelter in place” was an expedient term but a bit off. Now I know: It’s not the official term. 

  • DB March 24, 2020 (8:27 am)

    So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.

    • CAM March 24, 2020 (11:24 am)

      You are leaving out the other two rights in that sentence, life and happiness. The government has always retained the right to restrict the liberty of the citizens to protect the lives or safety of others. Ask anyone in jail or prison. Nobody’s liberty is dying, it is being temporarily restricted to preserve life and will be reinstated when that risk is dissipated. 

      • WSB March 24, 2020 (12:07 pm)

        Just because I’m a geek – you may know this – but that was a Star Wars quote – Sen. Amidala when Chancellor Palpatine declares himself Emperor Palpatine, Episode 3.

        • CAM March 24, 2020 (2:10 pm)

          Ugh. Please revoke all my nerd credentials immediately. 

  • sam-c March 24, 2020 (2:56 pm)

    “Are construction workers “essential”? Those on the call said they’re not sure – definitely if you’re, say, building a new hospital, but otherwise, they’re checking.”  – Did they ever follow up on this one?

  • Steve Noyes March 24, 2020 (4:31 pm)

    I am very dissappointed. I am a senior, and had to go to the store for a few items. I gloved & masked, but I was almost the only one. The streets & store looked like business as usual. No social distancing of any kind, people coughing into the air, or their hand, full parking lots, and busy roadways. This virus kills in a horrible way! An Italian newsclip slipped in on the evening news showed patients, gray, heads in bubbles hooked to ventilators, their chests heaving as they desperately gasped for a breath to cling to life. No one ever need suffer so horribly. Please stop prolonging this, Put on PPE or stay home!

    • WSB March 24, 2020 (4:57 pm)

      Health authorities say you do NOT need to wear PPE unless you are sick or a health-care worker.
      As for store space … things were pretty chill at West Seattle Thriftway at 6:55 am today. Lots of distancing, no coughing. They have 60+ tim 7-9 am.

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