NEWS_New Restrictions & Guidance as of November 15, 2020
New statewide COVID-19 restrictions as of 11/15/2020
On Sunday, November 15, Governor Inslee held a press conference announcing new statewide COVID-19 restrictions. The Thurston EDC and our Center For Business & Innovation will continue to operate and provide the resources to the communities and businesses of Thurston County. Our hotline for businesses continues to operate Monday through Friday, 9:30-3:30 – 1-888-821-6652. The hotline provides information on the latest resources and is an access point to business resources found throughout Thurston County. We also encourage businesses to peruse the websites of the EDC (www.thurstonedc.com) and Thurston Strong (www.thurstonstrong.org)
From Monday, November 16, until Monday, December 14, all counties in Washington will rollback to the restrictions outlined below. All K-12/higher education and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. If an activity is not listed, it should follow its current guidance. A household is defined as the individuals residing in the same domicile.
Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited.
Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to five people from outside your household.
Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size is limited to five people and these restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18.
Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above. Drop off childcare is closed.
Bowling centers and movie theaters are closed for indoor service.
Museums/zoos/aquariums are closed for indoor service.
Real Estate open houses are prohibited.
Wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
In-store retail is limited to 25% indoor capacity.
Religious services are limited to 25% indoor capacity or no more than 200 people, whichever if fewer.
Professional services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible, and to close offices to the public. If they remain open, occupancy is restricted to 25%.
Personal services are limited to 25% of maximum occupancy.
Long-term care facilities are limited to outdoor visits only.
Youth (school and non-school) and adult sporting activities limited to outdoor-only for intrateam practices, masks are required for athletes.
Highlights from the Press Conference
This is a temporary situation that will keep as many people alive as possible until we have a vaccine. We have entered a phase of exponential growth with the number of hospital patients increasing by 40% last week. Four weeks is the minimal amount of time necessary to evaluate whether the new restrictions are effective.
The Governor will release $50 million in grants and loans for small business support. His office is also exploring ways to support the employees of those businesses.
There are no changes to childcare or K-12 guidelines. The Governor recognizes that childcare is critical and intends to follow the State’s approach to local control of schools as much as possible. Additionally, recent evidence indicates that there are ways to have school in-person with limited spreading of the disease.
There is no intention of enforcing the in-home restrictions, but the Governor hopes that the requirements will motivate people to comply.
There are no current plans for a special session. The Governor can take the most steps within his existing authority. If there is a new solution to help with economic support that requires a special session, he’ll consider it.
The Governor made the decision to not go as far as the restrictions went in March. As a result, there are no changes to manufacturing or construction activities. Hair salons will also stay open. The focus was those businesses that have unmasked interactions inside.
The evidence indicates that restaurants are one of the most common outbreak locations in the State.
The State is currently enrolling vaccine providers. The Federal government is contracting with distribution companies who will distribute the vaccines directly to the providers when the vaccine is ready.