UPDATE: Governor says stay-home order WILL end Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean ‘return to normal’

With two days left until his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order expires, Governor Inslee is presenting an update right now. We’ll add notes as it goes. Whatever he announces, King County leaders plan their own update shortly afterward; we’ll carry that live, separately, too.

He says the stay-home order WILL end Sunday night. He says the tough measures weren’t an over-reaction – they’ve resulted in lower death rates because “we got it right.”

What’s next? County-by-county rules and policies, Inslee says, using those “new tools” such as testing, contact tracing, masks. He cautions this does NOT mean a “return to normal.” He says metrics will be used to approve whether counties can move forward or be “dial(ed) back,” and he’s outlining the metrics that will be watched, including targets such as notifying 90 percent of an infected person’s contacts within 24 hours of a positive test result. Another focus: “Protecting the vulnerable.”

He notes that counties are now getting more “flexibility” to move ahead – maybe with some activities in the next phase but not all, if they don’t meet the phase-advancing criteria. And now he’s talking about th importance of face coverings, which he says “can be very effective in protecting the other person” – a “small thing” to protect someone else’s life. “A face covering is an expression of love … a badge of commitment,” so that means new guidance for workers to wear them unless they’re working alone. Employers will need to require them. This will take effect June 8th.

2:55 PM: If you have trouble with the TVW feed, refresh the page or try the direct link. Now speaking, Dr. John Lynch from Harborview/UW Medicine, who says he’s been working on the COVID-19 response from the start; he underscores the importance of mask wearing because you could be asymptomatically spreading the virus, unaware. Physical distancing remains important too. Staying home when you’re sick is also vital.

The governor then reiterates, “We’re not done yet” – the outbreak could resurge – and that’s why taking precautions is vital. The stay-home order was a “lifeboat” for a few months and “we’re getting out of that lifeboat now” but getting into a different one. And staying close to home remains important, not overwhelming popular tourism spots – the day will return when traveling freely will be OK, he promises.

Now Q&A: How long will the turnaround time be for counties’ applications to move ahead, under the new criteria? State Health Secretary John Wiesman says at least a few days for conversations and evaluation, but “as quickly as we can.” The governor adds that the contact-tracing program will be county-managed – “you need to show us it’s really working.”

Second question is about the new looser case # per 100,000 – why is it OK now but wasn’t weeks ago? The health secretary says they wanted to start “conservative(ly)” to make sure it was safe. “There is no magic number here,” he insists, also noting that the new number is the one some other states are using now, such as California. The governor says new modeling also gave him confidence.

What about the possibility of flare-ups? The governor says that’s in our hands – taking simple steps (mask wearing, distancing, etc.) can prevent it. What about schools and colleges? That’s a separate process, and discussions are under way already. … Why weren’t masks required sooner? Their value wasn’t clear in the early going, the governor says – learning about this disease and how to fight it has been “an iterative process.” To clarify, retailers won’t be forced to refuse service to non-mask wearers (though they can CHOOSE to) but they WILL be required to post a sign asking people to wear masks. That’s the state rule, anyway, though, the governor points out, counties have the right to have tougher rules.

The governor wraps at 3:37 pm by saying, “These decisions today are based on our confidence in Washingtonians.” Archived video should be available soon, and we’ll link documents such as the new replacement order when available. Now on to the county briefing.

31 Replies to "UPDATE: Governor says stay-home order WILL end Sunday night, but that doesn't mean 'return to normal'"

  • ~hockeywitch~ May 29, 2020 (3:00 pm)

    So, any plans to travel outside of West Seattle will now be cancelled as traffic will be so bad you can’t leave.I work in Georgetown… OMG!! Is bad. Add everyone leaving homes, gonna be stupid bad.. 

    • LG May 29, 2020 (3:21 pm)

      Coming back to WS from work (in Renton) at 1:15 was horrible! The backup to Highland Park Way was backed up the farthest I have ever seen and that is one of my primary routes. 

      • Wes C. Addle May 29, 2020 (4:47 pm)

        It’s backed up at that time on the weekend.  For someone in a home search right now, this is playing a larger factor than I originally thought.

  • Dave Doucette May 29, 2020 (3:02 pm)

    About Damn Time! He knew it was going to be ended in court on Monday anyway. The coward doesn’t want to face the Judge.

    • duh May 29, 2020 (3:22 pm)

        Yeah, what a coward!  I mean all of these restrictions were clearly just a ploy to avoid facing the relatives of people who died needlessly, amirite?

    • heartless May 29, 2020 (3:26 pm)

      Terribly confused, but it seems like he did what you wanted him to do?

      And you somehow wind up angry with him and calling him a coward?

    • AMD May 29, 2020 (4:24 pm)

      The judge that’s hearing the case just tested positive for coronavirus.  There’s also legal precedent for extended emergency orders (after the Mt. St. Helens eruption), so I’m not sure what you think he’d be “afraid” of…  The “order” was more of a recommendation in all reality, wasn’t nearly as restrictive as other states, didn’t have the specific enforcement that other states did, and effectively did nothing but remind people that there’s a virus out there we should be mindful of.  It literally said “please don’t go out unless you need to” and then included exercise and getting takeout as things you “need” to do.  Most people don’t go out without a purpose to begin with and with most businesses and destinations remaining closed, there are fewer reasons to leave the house anyway.  I really don’t understand why people got their panties into a bunch over one of the most legitimately weak “stay home” orders in the nation to begin with.

      • Wes C. Addle May 29, 2020 (4:49 pm)

        I couldn’t have said this any better. 

    • EB May 29, 2020 (5:04 pm)

      Get over yourself. Coward 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • jsparra May 29, 2020 (3:17 pm)

    Spot on Dave

    • heartless May 29, 2020 (3:29 pm)

      Erm, spot on that it was cowardly of the governor to end the stay-home order, or spot on that it was “about damn time” to do it?

    • EB May 29, 2020 (5:04 pm)

      Yeah… ok 🙄

  • Neighbor May 29, 2020 (3:20 pm)

    Can someone explain to me what phase we will be in and what the orders state? It’s a lot to process! 

    • WSB May 29, 2020 (3:25 pm)

      Wait till the county briefing AFTER this. We’re still in Phase 1 and this doesn’t change that unless King County seeks approval and gets it. I expect that’s the sort of thing we’ll hear about from the county executive and health officer.

      • Scott Bly May 29, 2020 (3:48 pm)

        Any word on when the King County press conference will be?

        • WSB May 29, 2020 (3:53 pm)

          3:55 pm is the current expectation.

      • Chuck May 29, 2020 (3:48 pm)

        Is there a link to the county briefing?

        • WSB May 29, 2020 (3:52 pm)

          It hasn’t started yet but we’ll be covering live with a separate story; here’s the direct public stream

  • Cathy May 29, 2020 (3:24 pm)

    Let’s be civil. It’s not the Governors fault that this virus hit.

    • C May 29, 2020 (3:51 pm)

      I agree on being civil.  However, the governor should be held accountable as appropriate. I’m honestly not clear on what has changed in KC at least which is still in phase 1.  Actually there are items such as early park closure, etc. that were framed as continuing until expiration of stay home order.  Possibly they are done.  Not sure.  As for business, I see nothing really changing until the KC moves to next phase. 

    • rc253 May 29, 2020 (4:15 pm)

      Thank you, Cathy! The comment sections on the WSB are some of the worst places ever because folks think that this is the space to point unnecessary and ill-reasoned vitriol in the wrong directions. Want to be frustrated about the coronavirus? Fine. It’s not Jay’s fault and, in fact, ALL of our leaders have done great work to keep us safe. 

      • Linda May 29, 2020 (10:22 pm)

        Thank you to the Governor for showing  real leadership at such an unprecedented, difficult time in our history. 

  • Elton May 29, 2020 (3:39 pm)

    I’m not entirely clear on what ending the order means. Ultimately, businesses not covered in phase 1 in King County still have to remain closed, right? This just means that people can go back to their offices if they want, see their family, and can go outside in general without fear of reprisal?

    • rme May 29, 2020 (4:22 pm)

      Going outside has never been an issue. 

    • Another neighbor May 29, 2020 (4:53 pm)

      Ending the statewide order just means that the restrictions aren’t statewide anymore. Some counties are eligible for the second phase, while others still have too many cases to open up just yet. Ours, unfortunately, is the latter, and we will remain in phase 1.

    • Stay well May 29, 2020 (7:29 pm)

      It sounds like the existing over-arching stay home order is expiring, and the governor will be issuing a new ‘proclamation’ on Monday. The new proclamation will cover what’s next… essentially counties will have a bit more independence and flexibility moving forward, and can apply to enter next phases, depending on how well they’re able to manage transmission.

      Dow said our county will be applying for the modified phase 1 option, which is basically between phase 1 and 2… more will be allowed to open, but it’s more restricted than phase 2. It sounds like they may be hoping to move to phase 2 in a few weeks, but again, it really depends on how well we’re able to manage transmission.

  • Tracey May 29, 2020 (3:45 pm)

    One thing I would like some clarity on is what happens if cases start to spike above required limits in certain counties?  For example, some of the counties that were approved for Phase 2 seem to have now exceeded the original 10 cases/100000 residents /14 day requirement.  I believe Spokane county would be an example of this or getting close to it.  Curious, as I believe more activity will lead to more cases?

    • Lin May 29, 2020 (3:59 pm)

      I guess we’ll have to see what other states are doing? I mean some states like Alabama already has a spike and their ICUs filled. 

  • Xman May 29, 2020 (5:17 pm)

    Personal question for parents – anyone letting their kids have play dates right now? 

    • Lillet May 29, 2020 (6:19 pm)

      I think “older children” (age 8 and above, who can understand the need to “Social Distance”) can meet up outside. Kids are by and large unaffected by Covid, barring the rare outliers. And being outdoors is healthy as opposed to staying indoors all the time. So far, just my eldest (age 14) has been going on bike rides with friends. Take care everyone. 

  • Mj May 29, 2020 (5:27 pm)

    Due to a colossal maintenance failure by the City returning to normal will not happen anytime soon.  

    And still I have not heard what Metro’s and City planning is to significantly enhance transit service in WS?

Sorry, comment time is over.