Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health recommendations to protect our community
Stay Home—Stay Healthy
Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide order (Stay Home—Stay Healthy) on March 23. This proclamation states that:
- Every Washington resident is required to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
- All gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are banned.
- All businesses except essential businesses should be closed. Businesses that can operate with telework or work from home can continue. Essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, healthcare, utilities, transportation, child care etc.
The new rule will last through April 6. Non-essential businesses won't be able to reopen until at least April 8.
What is allowed:
- Grocery shopping and ordering take-out food from restaurants (food deliveries are also permitted)
- Attending medical appointments and going to pharmacies
- Taking a walk, running, biking and gardening. When you do outdoor activities, you must stay six feet apart from others.
- Going to gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, banks and laundromats
- Continuing to work if you're a part of any "essential businesses"
What isn't allowed:
- Participating in any in-person leisure, hobby or social clubs
- Attending or playing in sports games and practices
- Going to weddings or funerals
- Attending religious services
- Visiting museums, theaters, art galleries or fundraisers
- Going to concerts, festivals or parades
- Working out at a gym or fitness center
- Going to nail salons, barbers or tattoo parlors
- Going out to bars or eating at restaurants (both activities already banned)
Public Health recommends that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This includes concert venues, conventions, sporting events, and crowded social gatherings.
People at higher risk include people:
- Over 60 years of age
- With underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
- With weakened immune systems
- Who are pregnant
Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home. Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk for novel coronavirus should consult with their healthcare providers.
Employers should take steps to make it more feasible for their employees to work in ways that minimize close contact with large numbers of people.
- Maximize telecommuting options for as many employees as possible.
- Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
- Consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.
On March 12, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that all schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties will close from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24. The decision was made in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the Washington counties hit hardest by the virus.
- Even if you are not ill, avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you do need to visit one of these facilities limit your time there and keep 6 feet away from patients.
- Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
- Stay home when sick.
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including washing your hands with soap and water frequently, coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are at higher risk for coronavirus.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you've just washed your hands.
- Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
- Stay informed. Information is changing frequently. Check and subscribe to Public Health's website (www.kingcounty.gov/COVID) or blog (www.publichealthinsider.com).