State issues new guidance for reporting 'stay-at-home' violations

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Jay Inslee and state leaders issued new guidance Monday on how Washingtonians can report people and businesses violating the "stay-at-home" order that's in effect statewide.

Inslee, speaking at a news conference Monday afternoon, said there are three tiers of enforcing the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order that will likely be extended beyond the initial two weeks:

    "It can amount to a gross misdemeanor, but taking people to court is the very last thing to be considered," Inslee said.

    Violations pertaining to a business can be reported in an online form here. This form is NOT for reporting individuals or private groups.

    Under the governor's order, for at least the next week, people are required to stay home unless they are involved in an essential activity like shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, or working at an essential business.

    Going outside, walking your dog, going for a run, biking and working in your garden are all still allowed, as long as social distancing of at least six feet is practiced when with someone who doesn’t live in the same household as you.

    Essential activities also include caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence, or driving a family member, friend or pet somewhere for an essential health or safety activity.

    All gatherings, both private and public, are banned. These include things like playing pick-up basketball at the park, parties at the beach, and weddings. The ban on funerals has since been partially lifted, allowing limited services at funeral homes or graveside as long as only immediate family members attend, and as long as they stay 6 feet apart.

    Also under the order, all essential businesses that are allowed to remain open must implement social distancing and sanitation measures. Restaurants will be allowed to continue to serve takeout or delivery, mail will continue to be delivered and garbage and recycling will be picked up.

    Gas stations, banks and credit unions, grocery stores, farmers markets, pharmacies, marijuana stores, veterinarian clinics and medical centers will all remain open, as will ports and airports. Also considered essential: Law enforcement, those in public safety, first responders, child care workers and the media, as well as those who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges. All public and private K-12 schools remain closed through late April.

    There are more than 4,850 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington state and at least 195 deaths, as of Sunday, March 29. Click here for the state's COVID-19 response website.