Update: New measures to limit the spread of COVID-19

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Your Update on What's Happening at the King County Council  

Executive Constantine and King County Health Officer announce new orders to limit spread of COVID-19


Dear Friends and Neighbors:

We have reached a critical point in the battle to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Drastic measures are being taken to curb the rise in the number of people infected, which now sits at 769 confirmed cases statewide, including 42 deaths. 420 of the cases and 37 of the deaths are from King County.

Last night, Executive Dow Constantine and public health officials announced a new slate of actions that go into effect today, Monday, March 16. These include new restrictions on the size of gatherings and a shutdown of bars and restaurants, who must now switch to drive-through, delivery, or pick-up.

The new measures include:

  • All gatherings with more than 50 participants are prohibited until further notice.
  • All gatherings of 50 participants and below are prohibited unless previously announced criteria for hygiene and social distancing are met.
  • Restaurants, bars, dance halls, clubs, theaters, health and fitness clubs, and other similar indoor social or recreational venues must cease operations until March 31, 2020. However, restaurants and food service establishments may remain open for drive-through, delivery, and pick-up only through the end of March.
  • All other retail such as groceries, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, hardware stores, shopping centers, etc. may remain open provided they meet Public Health directives issued earlier.

Governor Jay Inslee is expected to take similar statewide actions tomorrow at the Governor and Executive’s joint press conference Monday morning at 10:30 am.

This latest development comes after Gov. Jay Inslee announced late last week that all public and private K-12 schools will be closed through April 24 and gatherings of more than 250 people were prohibited across all of Washington.  In addition, the King County Library System announced system wide library closures through April 13.

These latest actions will no doubt create challenges to every individual's day-to-day routine. However, these measures reduce the risk COVID-19 poses to our families and our communities. 

In more positive news, King County leadership has been working with both State and Federal officials on ways to support local governments in the response to COVID-19. Last Thursday, the State Legislature approved drawing $200 million from the State's emergency “rainy day” fund for a COVID-19 response, including a dedicated unemployment fund for businesses and workers. Meanwhile in the nation’s capital, President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency, freeing up $50 billion that could be directed to state and local governments for response to the outbreak.

I will continue to provide periodic updates as the COVID-19 outbreak and response continues to develop. 



Reagan Dunn

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Reagan Dunn
Vice Chair
Metropolitan King County Council


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