Inslee rolls out new restrictions on dining, bars, weddings, funerals and fitness as Covid cases rise

Gov. Jay Inslee outlined several rollbacks to the state's phased plan to reopen the economy, including restrictions on weddings and funerals and eliminating indoor bar service as Covid-19 cases continue to rise statewide. 

The new restrictions, announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon, will impact restaurants, bars (even if they sell food), weddings, funerals, fitness, family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms. 

The governor said the state is also extending the moratorium on evictions through October 15. 

"I care about businesses opening and people getting back to work, but public health and economic activity go hand in hand," Inslee said. "The rate of disease transmission has been increasing around the state. We don’t want to be in the position Florida is in. The spike in transmission among people in their 20s is spreading into all age groups in Washington. We’re not where Florida is at, but the trend lines are clear warning signals."

As of Wednesday, there were roughly 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington and 1,468 deaths. More than 5,000 people have been hospitalized. 

State Health Secretary John Wiesman has expanded the statewide mask mandate to include any common spaces, not just publicly accessible ones, like hallways and elevators in apartment buildings, hotels and congregated settings at nursing homes. The new mask mandate takes effect Saturday. 

Weddings and Funerals

  • Ceremonies are permitted, but receptions are prohibited. 
  • For all phases, the maximum indoor occupancy for weddings and funerals is 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as there can be six feet of distance between households

Weddings and funerals that are scheduled to take place in the next two weeks will be able to operate under previous Safe Start guidelines. The new restrictions take effect Aug. 6.

The following restrictions will take effect one week from today on July 30: 

Restaurants and Bars

Indoor dining is limited to members of the same household. Inslee says if you're dining with people from outside your household, you must sit outside. 

  • Restaurants must shut down game areas – like pool tables, darts, video games – until Phase 4.
  • In Phase 3, table size will be reduced to 5 and occupancy to 50% indoors.
  • Alcohol service at restaurants must end at 10 p.m.
  • Bars and taverns must close for indoor service. This includes taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries, even if they sell food. 

Gyms and Fitness Centers 

  • In Phase 2, only 5 people – not including staff – are allowed for indoor fitness services at a time. This includes gyms, fitness studios, and indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball courts and tennis facilities. These are limited to small group instruction or private training.
  • Fitness center occupancy in Phase 3 will be reduced to 25%. All group fitness classes are limited to no more than 10, not including the instructor.

Other Safe Start Rollbacks

  • Indoor family entertainment and recreation centers – like mini golf, bowling alleys, and arcades – cannot open until Phase 4.
  • Indoor card rooms cannot open until Phase 4.
  • Indoor movie theater occupancy will be limited to 25% in Phase 3.

"These prohibitions are part of our approach, but they only supplement what we really need, which is for individuals to continue to make safe decisions and adhere to healthy practices," Inslee said. "We do not take these steps lightly. We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners. But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line.

"Fewer, shorter, and safer interactions remain crucial in this fight," he continued. "Staying home is safest, but if you go out, keep it quick, keep your distance from others, and wear your face covering."