Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, ordered broad new restrictions and shutdowns for theaters, gyms, restaurants, and all indoor gatherings in Washington state starting 11:59 p.m. on Monday night in an attempt to slow the CCP virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
“Today, Sunday, November 15, 2020, is the most dangerous public health day in the last 100 years of our state’s history,” Inslee said. “A pandemic is raging in our state. Left unchecked, it will assuredly result in grossly overburdened hospitals and morgues; and keep people from obtaining routine but necessary medical treatment for non-COVID conditions.”
Inslee on Sunday ordered (pdf) bars and restaurants to shut down indoor operations and limit outdoor service to parties of five or fewer.
Indoor fitness centers and gyms have to entirely shut down, he said. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, and museums also are shut down.
Indoor gatherings with people outside their household will be prohibited unless participants have quarantined for a week and tested negative for the virus, Inslee said. It’s not clear how this will be enforced.
All business meetings will be prohibited, and participants are encouraged to meet remotely, said his office.
Wedding and funeral services are also prohibited, said his office, adding that ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
In-store retail is limited to 25 percent indoor occupancy and must close any common or congregate area for non-food-related seating areas. Food court seatings areas are closed, according to his office.
And, according to his office, the restrictions will be in effect at least for four weeks.
“We would hope we have progress and that would be the limit of these restrictions,” he said, according to the Seattle Times.
After posting about the restrictions on Twitter, Inslee received widespread backlash.
“He [is] creating this disaster and people are thanking him and asking for more. I’m astounded by this,” one wrote.
It’s likely that Inslee’s latest orders will be challenged in court. Several executive orders in other states regarding virus restrictions have been overturned by judges, including in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which both have Democratic governors.
The move comes as Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, in an address, said that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has strained individual liberties.
“Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech: live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings. Think of worship services, churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover on Yom Kippur. Think about access to the courts, or the constitutional right to a speedy trial. Trials in federal courts have virtually disappeared in many places. Who could have imagined that?” he said last week.