OLYMPIA — Masks are mandatory most everywhere and there will be no wedding and funeral receptions in Washington state for the time being, as the governor and state health officials try to reverse a spike in covid-19 cases.
Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington’s Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced the new mask requirements and reopening rollbacks during a news conference Thursday, July 23.
Inslee put the new restrictions in place to combat a rise in covid-19 cases in recent weeks. As of the news conference, Washington’s covid-19 case count surpassed 50,000, with about 20,000 of those new cases reported since July 1. In Washington, about 1,500 people have died from the disease.
While Pacific County’s case count stayed relatively low in the initial months of the pandemic, since July 1 cases rose to 30 from 18, with four new cases announced on Friday, July 24.
Masks are mandatory in most all public spaces as of Saturday, July 25.
Rollbacks for bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and fitness centers will take effect July 30.
Inslee also announced an extension of the statewide eviction moratorium, which will now last until Oct. 15.
Masks are required in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment and condo buildings. This also applies to university housing and hotels, as well as congregate settings such as nursing homes.
Starting on July 30, people in the same household are allowed to dine indoors, while people from different households must be sat in outdoor seating.
Table sizes and restaurant occupancy will be reduced for counties in Safe Start Phase Three, such as Pacific County. Tables must have no more than five people. Occupancy will be reduced to 50% from 75%.
Restaurants must close gaming and social areas, such as pool tables, dart boards and video games.
Alcohol service inside of restaurants must end by 10 p.m.
Bars will be closed for indoor service, and can continue outdoor service.
For phase three counties, fitness center occupancy will be reduced to 25% and group fitness classes are limited to 10 people, not including instructors.
Entertainment and recreation centers
Indoor family entertainment venues, such as, mini golf courses, bowling alleys and arcades, will need to close. This closure also applied to indoor card rooms. This does not apply to outdoor recreational centers, which means it shouldn’t close businesses such as Fun Beach Fun Center, Fun Beach Speedway and Putt Putt Mini Golf.
In phase three counties, movie theater occupancy will be reduced to 25% from 50%.
Businesses with questions about the new requirements can submit inquiries through a form on the Washington State Coronavirus Response website. The form can be found here: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/how-you-can-help/covid-19-business-and-worker-inquiries.
Weddings and funerals
Wedding and funeral ceremonies are permitted, however receptions will be banned starting Aug. 10.
Ceremonies will be subject to social gathering guidelines, with a maximum indoor capacity of 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, and as long as there is room for social distancing.