SEATTLE -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is ordering all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of coronavirus in the state with by far the most deaths in the U.S. from the disease.
Six more people died of the new coronavirus in King County, health officials reported Monday. They ranged in age from 50 to 90 and included a resident of a nursing center in Redmond, Washington.
The number of positive cases in the state Monday rose to more than 900 including 48 deaths, state health officials reported.
Inslee signed the emergency proclamation Monday afternoon. It doesn’t apply to grocery stores and pharmacies and restaurants can continue take-out and delivery services.
The order goes into effect at midnight Tuesday and lasts through March 31.
King County announced Sunday night it would take these actions immediately. Restaurants, bars, dance halls, clubs, theaters, health and fitness clubs, and other similar indoor social or recreational venues were ordered to cease operations.
Inslee, speaking at a press conference in Seattle Monday, said the following are included in the ban:
- restaurants except for takeout and delivery
- food courts
- bars and taverns
- coffee shops, donut shops, ice cream parlors
- wine and beer tasting venues
- breweries and distilleries
- beauty salons
- nail salons
- tattoo parlors
- bowling alleys
- gyms and fitness centers
- non-tribal card rooms
- museums and art galleries
- youth sports
- youth clubs
The ban will last for at least the next two weeks. Inslee also revised his ban on events to prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people. Previously the size limit was more than 250.
"Today we know we’re doing this for a simple reason: to save lives of our loved ones here in Washington," Inslee said. "This is our only weapon available to us right now. We are not powerless against this virus. We have one effective means of defeating it. That is distancing ourselves from virtually everyone else in Washington."
Inslee warned that residents should be avoiding all large group settings, even those with fewer than 50 people. If you're forced to be in the same room with others, stay at least 6 feet apart.
Inslee, along with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin, said social distancing is our only hope for keeping hospitals from being overrun and our health system strained.
"If you’re thinking of having a group with 49 people in the room, think again. Think about how to get your work done in a different way," Inslee said. "If we’re living our normal life right now, we need to think about what we’re doing wrong as Washingtonians."
Inslee also cautioned against hoarding supplies like toilet paper and medical equipment. He said supply chains remain strong, and we're not in danger of running out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
"We are all in this together," he said.
Washington is joining several states across the country, including California, Illinois, Ohio and Louisiana, in implementing more drastic social distancing measures as the number of cases continues to rise.
There were more than 3,700 cases nationwide as of Sunday night and more than 169,000 cases worldwide. In Washington state, 42 people have died and 796 have tested positive.
Of the more than 10,200 tests administered so far in Washington, 9,451 were negative.
The two new deaths on Sunday -- a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 70s -- were both residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland, the center of the state's outbreak. Public health officials said 29 of the 42 deaths are linked to the Kirkland nursing home.
There are 37 deaths in King County, four deaths in Snohomish County and one reported in Grant County as of Sunday afternoon.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover.
The Associated Press contributed to this report