Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Inslee orders Washington residents to "Stay home, stay safe"


March 19, 2020

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered resident to stay home for the next two weeks as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, also known as Wuhan Flu.

The order takes effect March 25.

“Tonight, I am issuing a stay home order to fight this virus,” Inslee said in a televised and Internet broadcast Monday evening from Olympia. “This is Washington’s stay home, stay health order.”

Inslee said the order includes a ban on all gatherings, including going to the beach, weddings, funerals and even sleep overs.

“It requires every single Washingtonian to minimize contact with others,” he said.

Grocery stores, doctors offices, automotive shops, agricultural businesses and others will remain open, as will media companies like newspapers.

The governor said residents are still allowed to go outside to walk, bike and exercise.

“It is still safe to go outside, using social distancing of 6 feet, but really only for essential purposes,” he said, noting that outdoor exercise is essential for people’s physical and mental well-being.

“Life will go on,” he said.

The order comes just three days after the governor chastised state residents for not staying home.

“People still aren’t practicing these precautions,” he said, of his efforts last week to encourage residents to stay home, businesses to enact work-from-home practices and halt social gatherings. “That’s one of the reasons we have to take these steps.”

According to Inslee, “distancing ourselves is the only weapon against this virus.”

“Forty-eight hours from now, this will close many businesses in our state,” he said. “If a nonessential workplace can close now, it should.

Inslee said he hopes everyone will voluntarily comply with his order.

“But, make no mistake, these orders are enforceable by law,” he said, calling the decision to tell residents to stay home “a very difficult choice.”

Calling the pandemic that began in Wuhan, China, a “tragedy on a scale we cannot yet project,” Inslee said the pandemic threatens to “overwhelm our society without decisive action.”

“No one should make a run on the grocery stories to over stock,” he said. “Schools will reopen. Weddings will happen. Factorise will start again.

“And you’ll be able to toast the end of this at your favorite hangout, as soon as possible.”


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