Inslee announces new coronavirus restrictions

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday announced new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings for the next four weeks as the state continues to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases.

Starting at 11:59 p.m. today, a host of businesses must close their indoor services, including fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums. Retail stores — including grocery stores — must limit their indoor capacity to 25 percent.

Also starting at that time, indoor social gatherings with people from more than one household are also prohibited unless attendees have either quarantined for 14 days before the gathering or tested negative for COVID-19 and quarantined for seven days. There’s no enforcement mechanism for indoor get-togethers, but Inslee said he hopes people will follow the order.

Beginning 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, restaurants and bars will be limited to to-go service and outdoor dining with tables seating no more than five people.

While weddings and funerals can still occur, starting Tuesday, ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and receptions are prohibited. Real estate open houses will be prohibited, personal services — like hair salons — will be limited to 25 percent of maximum occupancy and professional services are required to mandate remote work when possible, and when not, to be restricted to 25 percent occupancy. Under the new rules, only outdoor visits will be allowed at long-term care facilities and religious services will be capped at either 25 percent indoor occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

At a Sunday morning news conference, Inslee warned that the state is facing a third wave of the virus that is “trending to be more dangerous than any we have seen before.” (AP)

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