Expanded restrictions on public gatherings and “non-essential business” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state were announced by the Governor this week.Some restrictions in the new “stay home, stay healthy” order take effect immediately, such as for “social, spiritual and recreational purposes.” However, businesses new to the restrictions list have up-to-48 hours to transition to full closure from the time of Monday’s announcement.
Businesses that are not listed as essential should be closed by Thursday, March 26. According to the Governor’s order, violators “may be subject to criminal penalties per RCW.43.06.220(5). At this point, Police prefer to educate those out of compliance.
The primary role of law enforcement is to help educate people about how to comply with the order. Police will continue to respond with consideration and compassion, with an emphasis on education.
Some people who are out in public may be workers for essential businesses that may remain open:• all grocery stores• pharmacies• gas stations• food supply chains• other entities necessary for continued operations.
For more on the order, please visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.
Local COVID-related news and information are found on WhatcomCOVID.com or on the Whatcom Unified Command Facebook page.