Washington Gov. Inslee ordering bars, restaurants temporarily closed to stem outbreak

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Monday is ordering all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the state with by far the most deaths in the U.S. from the disease.

Inslee says the ban, to be issued via emergency proclamation, wouldn’t apply to grocery stores and pharmacies, and restaurants could continue take-out and delivery services. No time frame was given on how long the restrictions will last.

The governor also revised his ban on events to prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people. Previously the size limit was more than 250. Other governors have instituted such measures. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for all bars, wineries, nightclubs, and brewpubs to close in the nation’s most populous state. The governors of Ohio, Massachusetts, and Illinois also ordered bars and restaurants to shutter.

Public health officials in the Seattle area reported two more COVID-19 deaths, bring the total statewide to at least 42. Both additional deaths announced Sunday were residents of the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the suburban nursing home that has been the center of the outbreak in the hard-hit region. That makes 29 coronavirus-related fatalities linked to the nursing home.

There are more than 750 confirmed cases statewide.

The Washington state Department of Health says that 8 percent of the more than 9,400 people who have been screened for COVID-19 tested positive.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover. (AP)

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