OLYMPIA, Wash. - The latest statewide Covid-19 restrictions that were set to be lifted Jan. 4 - including a ban on indoor dining and wedding and funeral receptions - have been extended for another week.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that the extended restrictions will now expire Jan. 11. It's the second time he's extended the new rules.
The restrictions Inslee extended are the same ones he announced in mid-November ahead of Thanksgiving when coronavirus cases began to surge in Washington.
Inslee said the extension is necessary to prevent hospitals from reaching capacity, but the news is sure to rattle business owners struggling to stay afloat.
"Our consistent mission has been keeping Washingtonians safe and ensuring health care system and hospital capacity," Inslee said in a prepared statement. "We understand the profound impact COVID is having on our healthcare system, families and businesses, but I am heartened by the number of Washingtonians who continue to do the right thing. If we continue distancing from others, wearing facial coverings and avoiding social gatherings, we will make it to the other side of this pandemic together."
The restrictions include:
- Indoor social gatherings with people outside your household are prohibited, unless you quarantined for 14 days prior, or quarantine for 7 days and have a negative COVID-19 test
- Outdoor social gatherings must be limited to 5 people from outside your household
- Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining for to-go services are allowed, but must follow outdoor dining restrictions.
- Tables are limited to 5 people for outdoor dining. Restaurant restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18
- Wedding and funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
- In-store retail, including grocery stores, must be limited to 25% indoor capacity and must close common areas. Food court dining must close.
- Religious services are limited to 25% indoor occupancy or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band or ensemble can perform during service. Soloist are permitted to perform. Facial coverings must be worn at all times.
- Long-term care facilities outdoor care visits are allowed. Exceptions for essential support person or end-of-life care.
- Youth and adult sporting activities are limited to outdoor only, intrateam practices and masks are required for all athletes.
- Bowling centers must close indoor service
- Fitness facilities and gyms are to close for indoor service. Outdoor fitness classes may continue, but still follow outdoor gathering restrictions. Drop-off childcare will close.
- Misc. venues: all retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Professional training and testing that cannot be done remotely is allowed. Occupancy in meeting rooms are limited to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Movie theaters must close indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are allowed.
- Museums, zoos and aquariums must close indoor service
- Real estate open houses are not allowed.
- All childcare services, K-12th grade and higher education is exempt from the new restrictions and will also continue with current guidance measures in place.
Inslee's office is working on an updated reopening plan that will be announced next week. He is not holding a news conference today (Dec. 30).