Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced a Stay Home, Stay Healthy Executive Order, the best tool we currently have to slow the spread of COVID-19. This decision is a proven strategy that will save lives.
We know that this is a disruptive and alarming change for many of us. It’s going to require that we make some big adjustments to our lives for at least the next two weeks.
Here is why this is the best thing for our community’s health:
- The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact between people, most often when they are within 6 feet of each other. The more people that gather together in a shared space, the more likely it is that people will become infected.
- It’s important that we distance ourselves from each other physically to keep the virus from spreading. One of the best ways to do that is to keep large groups of people from gathering together. Social distancing is really physical distancing.
- Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will protect our most vulnerable community members: people who are more likely to have severe illness or die from COVID-19.
- The order will help ease the burden on our healthcare system. It means fewer people get sick at the same time, so our hospital and clinics won’t be overwhelmed by many people who need care all at once.
What does this order mean for you?
The Governor’s Executive Order:
- Requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless they are doing an essential activity such as grocery shopping, doctor’s visits or going outside for a walk. When you do these things, you must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
- Immediately bans all gatherings for social, recreational or spiritual purposes. This includes things like religious services, sleepovers, playing sports with friends, weddings and funerals.
- Closes all businesses except essential businesses or those able to let employees work remotely without coming into physical contact with others.
What you can do to keep yourself and and your community healthy
It’s still essential that we do things to take care of our physical and emotional well-being. We want you to keep doing the things that keep you healthy:
- Maintain usual shopping habits, and don’t over-buy. Grocery stores will stay open, and supplies will keep being stocked.
- Seek out ways to help your community. Get groceries for a neighbor. Donate blood.
- Turn to what brings you hope in your life. Do the things you love: go for a walk, read a book, do some gardening, enjoy your favorite hobby.
- Stay connected to family, friends, and the people that you love. Video chat, text, talk on the phone, write letters.
What can I do? What’s open?
These essential businesses will stay open:
- Emergency services
- Healthcare services
- Child care services
- Grocery stores
- Gas stations
- Critical local government operations, including courts
- Critical manufacturing
- Food and agriculture
- Financial services
- Defense industries
- Restaurants, only to offer take-out and delivery
- Any essential business that continues to operate under this order must follow rules that allow people to stay at least 6 feet apart.
- Businesses that are not essential must close within 48 hours, unless their workers are able to work remotely without coming into physical contact with others.
- The Governor’s office is working to minimize the economic effects of this outbreak. You can find information about financial assistance at www.coronavirus.wa.gov.
This challenge will end and taking strong action now will speed up our community’s recovery. This order is essential to save lives. Keeping communities healthy is our first priority.
We are in this together. Stay home, stay healthy!