This is what Washington state governor’s COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ order means for you

Gov. Jay Inslee has followed 16 other states, including New York and California. in declaring a “stay at home” order for all of Washington in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Washington has seen 2,221 cases and 110 fatalities due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Under Inslee’s order issued Monday evening, Washingtonians can leave their homes for only four “essential services”:

  • To obtain necessary supplies like food and medication

  • To exercise. You can go outside for activity but be conscientious by staying six feet apart from others.

  • To care for a loved one or take them to get medication, medical help or groceries.

  • To seek medical and behavioral help for you, family members or animals.

The order does not allow for travel, unless it is part of an essential activity. All spiritual, recreational or social gatherings are banned.

Those who work in essential businesses, like hospitals and pharmacies, are permitted to go to work.

Here’s how it impacts businesses:

  • The order calls for all businesses, apart from those deemed essential, to close.

  • Restaurants can remain open for takeout and delivery only.

  • Businesses that provide “essential services” like delivering food, mail, picking up garbage and providing utilities, also can remain open

  • Essential businesses must comply with orders already in place for social distancing and sanitation measures.

Many businesses will be closed, but some, like grocery stores and gas stations, will remain open.

This is not a shelter in place order.

The Washington State Department of Health has defined a “shelter in place” as protocol if a chemical agent attack happens. Such an order would instruct people to shelter where they are and seal the premises.

Residents would be asked to go inside, close all windows and doors, turn off ventilation systems and go into a room with the fewest doors and windows and seal the room.

People would be asked to stay in the room until authorities said it was safe to come out, according to a DOH webpage.

Follow more of our reporting on Full coverage of coronavirus in Washington

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Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.