From a November 17, 2020, Snohomish County press release.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country.
The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” Inslee said during a press conference Sunday.
He went on to say, “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives.”
The restrictions are statewide. They took effect Monday, November 16th, at 11:59 pm and are scheduled to remain in place until Monday, December 14th.
The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, took effect on Wednesday, November 18th, at 12:01 am.
To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. Businesses can also apply for Paycheck Protection Plan forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration, or from their local bank. If workers are kept in their jobs, the loans aren’t required to be paid back.
Several Snohomish County leaders voiced support for the governor’s action while also raising concerns about likely economic impacts.
“With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising, action must be taken to save lives and the capacity of our health care system,” County Executive Dave Somers said.
He continued by saying, “Our state has reached a tipping point where doing nothing is not an option. Clearly, the status quo is not working. We support the Governor’s decisive action to save lives. We will do all we can in Snohomish County to protect our most vulnerable residents, preserve our medical capacity, and keep our small businesses functioning.
I am very worried about impacts to our local economy, particularly after the rough year we’ve had. I will continue to be a strong advocate for more federal funding to help us through this wave of the pandemic. We are all beyond frustrated with the need for these measures, but they are necessary to push the curve back down. We’ve done it before and can do it again.”
“I regret the restrictions being necessary, but we need to put on the brakes now to keep from overwhelming the already stressed health care system,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer at the Snohomish Health District.
“These aren’t across the board shutdowns, but rather a strategic freeze within those sectors and situations that are linked to this recent surge in cases. We need everyone to join in and respect the restrictions to turn this around,” he added.
Rolling Snohomish County Covid-19 case count. Image courtesy of Snohomish Health District.
Editor's note: The graphic for Snohomish County rolling two-week Covid-19 case counts was updated to reflect the November 14, 2020, numbers.