Business shut-down order takes effect Thursday, March 26
Governor’s ‘stay home, stay ‘healthy’ order provides transition time
Expanded restrictions on public gatherings and “non-essential business” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state were announced by the Governor this week.
Some restrictions in the new “stay home, stay healthy” order take effect immediately, such as for “social, spiritual and recreational purposes.” However, businesses new to the restrictions list have up-to-48 hours to transition to full closure from the time of Monday’s announcement.
Businesses that are not listed as essential should be closed by Thursday, March 26. According to the Governor’s order, violators “may be subject to criminal penalties per RCW.43.06.220(5). At this point, Police prefer to educate those out of compliance.
The primary role of law enforcement is to help educate people about how to comply with the order. Police will continue to respond with consideration and compassion, with an emphasis on education.
Some people who are out in public may be workers for essential businesses that may remain open:
- all grocery stores
- gas stations
- food supply chains
- other entities necessary for continued operations.
The primary role of law enforcement is to help educate people about how to comply with the Governor’s latest order (“Stay Healthy, Stay Home.” [add hyperlink] Police are responding with consideration and compassion, with an emphasis on education.
Police are not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance. They are working to educate residents on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep their families safe and most importantly, to keep the rest of the community safe – especially vulnerable populations.
Some people are “out and about” because they are needed to carry out essential services such as:
- Safety and security
- Food, water, shelter
- Health and medical
- Energy (power and fuel)
Our community has shown they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and neighbors safe and healthy.
You may still see people out in public, but clearly in lower numbers. If you encounter people not complying with the Governor’s order, you are free to remind them of social distancing – for their own safety. However, citizens have no authority to make arrests and it is not the goal of law enforcement to send anybody to jail for violations. Especially since one of the key objectives for the County Jail is to keep its population levels at a minimum.