UPDATE: Gov. Inslee announces new rules for restaurants, bars, fitness businesses, more

In his first media briefing of the week, Gov. Inslee has just announced new rules to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 – including limiting indoor dining to table-sharing only with members of your own household, and banning all indoor service for bars.

He also announced that indoor fitness businesses would be limited to 5 people.

And the state Secretary of Health is announcing new face-covering rules too – they must be worn in “common areas” like elevators, lobbies, dorms. You can watch the ongoing briefing here.

3:01 PM: The governor also announced the statewide eviction moratorium will be extended until October 15th. … Plus, new restrictions for weddings and funerals. We’ll add full details when they’re out. The briefing is continuing with media Q&A.

3:52 PM: Briefing’s over. In Q&A the governor said he expects to extend the statewide pause on phase-advancing, which otherwise was to expire next week.

ADDED 9:18 PM: Here’s the governor’s post about today’s announcements.

42 Replies to "UPDATE: Gov. Inslee announces new rules for restaurants, bars, fitness businesses, more"

  • WTF July 23, 2020 (3:38 pm)

    Can some explain what the hell closing alcohol sales at 10pm has to do with thwarting COVID?

    • High Point July 23, 2020 (4:08 pm)

      My guess is that most people who dine that late into the evening will prolong their stay while consuming alcohol. 

    • Lagartija Nick July 23, 2020 (4:19 pm)

      Because the drunker you get the less responsible you are? 🤷

    • Patrick H July 23, 2020 (4:20 pm)

      I don’t know for sure, but I would guess it helps keep patron numbers down at bars and clubs. My experience has been that places that predominantly sell alcohol tend to get busier later in the night rather than slowing down. You can send Inslee’s staff a message and ask for the specifics if you’re genuinely interested. Elected officials’ teams can be surprisingly responsive sometimes. https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message

    • wsres July 24, 2020 (9:24 am)

      Congregating, bars – bring groups, and people don’t follow distancing regulations. It’s been proven that bars are the worst for spreading Covid. 

    • Mark Noonan July 31, 2020 (7:58 pm)

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • Gwen July 23, 2020 (3:59 pm)

    Very happy about the eviction moratorium. With unemployment benefits likely going up, August has been fixing to be a real dark month for a lot of people. Extending that will greatly help many.

    • M July 23, 2020 (4:59 pm)

      Unless you are the landlord who still has to pay the mortgage. 

    • Also John July 23, 2020 (5:17 pm)

      I feel sorry for landlords that need that rent money to feed their family and pay their mortgage.  People seem to miss this obvious fact.

      • Stay calm and bandana on July 23, 2020 (6:36 pm)

        Pretty sure the moratorium protects landlords from the rent/mortgage they owe as well.

        And many people are without their usual source of income right now, why would landlords receive special concern over others?

        We need solutions to help all through this time.

      • BW July 23, 2020 (8:30 pm)


      • Nope July 23, 2020 (8:58 pm)

        🙄 The poor landlord is a laughable concept in 2020. Please, explain how someone who has seen an asset grow at the pace West Seattle’s housing market has over the past 10 years fits this narrative. I’m a current WS home owner and support those who are currently behind their rent due to COVID. 

        • Ajax July 24, 2020 (4:07 am)

          How does asset appreciation help you unless you sell the asset?  I mean, on paper, it’s great that the value of my house has increased by $350k since I bought it 11 years ago, but it doesn’t do me any good unless I sell, and my property taxes continue to go up due to the increased valuation (among other things). 

        • Blbl July 24, 2020 (10:15 am)

          I’m a landlord and there is no protection for us. But yeah, I’m not going to pretend I’m in the same position as a tenant. I think the moratorium is necessary.

    • The King July 23, 2020 (5:38 pm)

      How does this help a landlord? This is a government overreach. 

      • WW Resident July 23, 2020 (7:06 pm)

        Don’t you know? All landlords are Jeff Bezos rich. There’s no such thing as the working landlords or landlords who need the revenue to be able to make a living and /or pay their bills. They have an unlimited fund of money

      • Gwen July 23, 2020 (7:42 pm)

        There should be a freeze on mortgages so landlords don’t have to make payments on the property. And the 600 dollar unemployment benefits should definitely extend to keep people able to pay rent. But I’m not about to start crying “what about the landlords” because I am most worried about a surge of evictions during a pandemic that cost people their jobs.

        • Boop July 23, 2020 (8:32 pm)

          So, Gwen, when the landlord can’t pay the mortgage, the tenant gets evicted anyway.  How does that sound?  Your response seems a little obtuse.

          If you are advocating that people spend some of their government money to pay their rent, then that’s great. Someone has to pay at some point.

          • Gwen July 23, 2020 (9:27 pm)

            As someone brought up above, the moratorium protects landlords from mortgage and rent owed too. And yeah, if folks can pay rent with their unemployment benefits, they should. And most are. The issue is what happens when that money dries up. It’s absolute cruelty to throw people out for a situation out of their control in the middle of a pandemic. 

  • J July 23, 2020 (4:07 pm)

    I think it has to do with bars closing at 10 pm??

  • Bandana July 23, 2020 (4:57 pm)

    Today the state passed 50,000 COVID cases. The state had a running total of 20,000 cases in mid-May. That’s 30,000 more cases in the past 9 weeks. I support the governor’s and health secretary’s decision, especially for widespread mask wearing. Wishful thinking won’t make this virus go away.  Everyone needs to do their part. 

  • Sarra July 23, 2020 (5:02 pm)

    Good! Just wish he’d close indoor seating 100%. No way kids are going to get back to school as long as people keep going out and spreading the virus. 

  • ds July 23, 2020 (5:49 pm)

    I thought gyms and fitness centers were already limited to 5 people indoors… what did I miss? :)

  • Mj July 23, 2020 (5:52 pm)

    Also John  – you are absolutely correct.  Many small fry landlords, the ones who tend to keep their rents lower, need rent money to pay their bills too.  This leads to sales to corporate type landlords that raise rents.  

    Further the rent is still owed foisting the renter further into the hole.  It seams that at least half the rent should be required to be more equitable and for the renter not to dig a deaper hole.

    • Gwen July 23, 2020 (9:14 pm)

      I can guarantee that if renters CAN pay 50% of their rent, they are. All that making mandatory 50% payments would do is put those most affected by this on the streets.

      • Tp July 23, 2020 (11:24 pm)

        I’m neutral on this, but Gwen, I personally know of a few people who actually could pay their rent but have chosen not to.  They each have their own reasons, whether anyone agrees with them or not.  I say this to simply put out there that saying  everyone who can pay their rent/half their rent is a broad statement and a testament to the power of positive thinking, but perhaps not entirely accurate.

  • KT July 23, 2020 (7:15 pm)

    Congress needs to extend the $600/week unemployment so people CAN continue to pay their rents to help landlords.  Trickle up works!

    • Gwen July 23, 2020 (7:43 pm)


  • RSO July 23, 2020 (10:10 pm)

    Instead of everyone bickering about moratoriums and landlords, spend the few seconds/minutes that it takes for you to write your comment on WSB and instead direct your anger/stress/frustration at congress. They are the ones you should be mad at…not each other. They are the ones who are in a position to help us and are not. Did you know that in order to be eligible for the housing support in the federal CARES act your income has to be less that 30% Area Median Income (AMI)? In Seattle, 30% AMI is $25,100 for a single person household and $35,000 for a family of 4. Oh…and to qualify you have to be AT IMMINENT RISK of losing your housing within the next two weeks, which you need to document by providing an eviction notice. Which you can’t get because evictions are currently not allowed. I’m not saying they should be allowed. I’m saying that the federal government isn’t doing anything to help us and it’s time that we start putting pressure on them. They must extend the $600/week unemployment and they must broaden the housing support, among so many other things :( 

    • Gwen July 23, 2020 (10:38 pm)

      Yes, this is it. Our system is broken, and it takes a crisis to show it.

    • KT July 24, 2020 (6:25 am)

      Yes … time to flip the Senate.  Jamie Harrison in SC, Amy McGrath in KY, Mark Kelly in AZ, Sara Gideon in ME, Theresa Greenfield in IA…

  • WS Longtimer July 24, 2020 (12:39 am)

    All for reducing Covid spread so think these changes can help just wondering…??1) How will this new rule of dining only with family be upheld?  2) Game areas must close?  What does this entail?  Closing casinos, bar games, gaming arcades, basketball, football areas?  I notice lots of people playing in these areas with no social distancing.  3) Bars limiting to outdoors only is good idea, so far what I have seen in WS outdoor bar areas seating is still close and not wearing masks ( a pain, I guess while having a drink).  4) When does all this go into effect?  Saw Phase 3 on reducing table size to 5 ( better have a family no greater than 5 because your eating at home!)  I hope we can all stay safe and healthy🙏

    • Mark Noonan July 31, 2020 (8:03 pm)

      I’m not exactly happy with the 75% Seating capacity for phase 3 being reduced to 50%. But that’s the way it goes. 

  • Whaaaatttt? July 24, 2020 (10:06 am)

    Casinos can do what they want. Sovereign nation.  As an aside, as a Soverign  nation,  Casino restaurants DO NOT have to follow Health Department rules and ARE NOT inspected by the Health Department. Dig in!!Massage givers at Casinos also don’t need a license. 

    • WSB July 24, 2020 (10:12 am)

      To clarify, that’s tribe-operated casinos, not all casinos (Roxy’s on Roxbury, for example).

    • DJ July 29, 2020 (5:56 pm)

      You are correct!! Tribal casinos do not have to follow health department rules.  I found that out when I called in sick.  Had a temperature AND a note from my Doctor.  I was written up despite that. I called the local health department, who were all ears until they heard who my employer was. “We have no jurisdiction.” That is what they told me. I was sick more times in that year I worked at the casino than before or since.  If you want your job you come to work sick.

  • Smittytheclown July 24, 2020 (12:01 pm)

    Is there a database to find the scofflaws who are collecting more now then they were before and still not paying rent?  The national savings rate has skyrocketed.  Pay your bills if you have been collecting more than you made before this happened!

  • Steeeeeve July 24, 2020 (2:13 pm)

    I am very happy about this, I’d be okay going back to phase one. All these dum dums making it hard to live for everyone else. 

  • MM July 24, 2020 (2:29 pm)

    All these rules and limits for businesses is ridiculous when there is absolutely no shut down or pause for large crowds of 150+ people to gather and go out shouting & chanting during protests and engaging in criminal activity in Seattle.  Can’t go have a beach fire on Alki but can go gather as many as you want on the streets downtown or capitol hill.  Maybe if protests stop for a while, It may help slow the spread if covid. 

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