Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday (July 23) he is tightening restrictions throughout the state for restaurants, bars, weddings, funerals and gyms in an effort to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The changes mostly affect indoor activities where the risk of virus exposure could be highest. For restaurants, indoor dining will be limited to members of the same household and alcohol service must end at 10 p.m. Bars, taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries must close all indoor service, regardless of whether food is served, Inslee said. Those rules go into effect July 30.
Wedding ceremonies, both religious and secular, still will be allowed, while receptions will be prohibited. The maximum indoor occupancy for weddings and funerals will be 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as 6 feet of distance can be maintained between households. Those changes also take effect July 30, but weddings and funerals within the next two weeks can take place under previous guidelines, Inslee said.
When it comes to fitness, Inslee said that for counties in Phase 2 of the governor’s four-phase reopening plan, such as King County, only 5 people, not including staff, are allowed for indoor fitness services at a time. The restrictions include gyms, fitness studios, indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball and tennis courts. Gyms in Phase 3 counties must reduce occupancy to 25% and limit group fitness classes to 10 participants.
Businesses such as card rooms, bowling alleys and arcades now cannot open until Phase 4, and indoor movie theather occupancy will be limited to 25% in Phase 3.
As of July 23, the state Department of Health had logged a cumulative total of 50,009 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in January, with 1,482 deaths.
In King County, there have been 13,659 cases so far and 635 deaths, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.
At Thursday’s news conference, State Health Department Secretary John Wiesman expanded a statewide face covering mandate to include common spaces such as elevators and hallways in places such as university housing, hotels and nursing homes. Those rules go into effect on Saturday, July 25.
The statewide eviction moratorium also will be extended again, but details will come later, Inslee said.
This report consists of information contributed by The Associated Press and The Herald (Everett).