Gov. Jay Inslee rolled out more measures to combat the growing threat of coronavirus in a press conference on Wednesday, including a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. The ban includes events in Kings, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, although the purview is expected to be expanded in coming weeks, the governor said.
This is including but not limited to community, civic, faith-based, sporting or leisure events,” said Inslee. “This also includes parades, concerts, festivals, conventions, and sporting or leisure events.”
The announcement comes the same week that the governor rolled out other preventative measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The measures announced Wednesday morning include the three counties, Inslee said, because those counties have been seeing significant numbers of patients contracting the virus and because those counties have some of the highest populations in the state.
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In approaching this issue, it’s important to know this is an extremely dangerous event we’re facing,” said Inslee. “We have the ability to do what is necessary in reducing the rate of speed of this epidemic.”
While the governor also stipulated the ban on large gatherings might be extended beyond the end of the month, he added the decision to extend the timeline will be made at a later date. In the meantime, he added, employers should maximize opportunities as much as possible for employees throughout the state to telecommute, when possible.
There are many who can’t telecommute, but there are those who can,” Inslee said. “We’re asking leaders to embed social distancing. This is key to success in slowing the epidemic.”
The governor also called on schools to think of solutions for continuing to both provide meals to students during school closures, as well as provide childcare to families who still have to go to work.
We don’t want our nurses to have to leave work in the middle of an epidemic because they don’t have childcare,” Inslee said. “We ask educators to bend to these tasks as we make these decisions.”
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