With deep desire and hope for the well-being and health of you, your loved ones, and your faith communities, we share with you the latest update from King County. Please feel free to share with whoever may be interested or impacted by these new orders.
March 16 Public Health Order
From King County:
Thank you for the steps that you have taken within your organizations and with those you serve to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region these past few weeks. These have been challenging times, but your partnership has been essential in protecting our collective well-being. Today, King County, along with the State of Washington, is taking further steps to protect lives and our community which will need everybody’s collaboration.
What orders have been made?
- On March 16, 2020, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin ordered the prohibition of all events with 50 people or more, with strict guidance for smaller events. These have been amended from last week’s orders prohibiting events with 250 people.
- The March 16th Health Order also states that the following retail establishments must close until March 31, 2020:
- Restaurants, bars, dance halls, clubs, theaters, health and fitness clubs, and other similar indoor social or recreational venues.
- Restaurants and food service establishments may remain open only for drive-through, delivery, and pick up only.
- All other retail such as groceries, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, hardware stores, shopping centers, etc. may remain open provided they meet Public Health directives in the previous Local Health Order and align with the guidance for retail businesses and service operators to protect from the spread of COVID-19.
- On March 12, Governor Inslee announced that all schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties will close from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24. At this time, the order does not include childcare and early learning programs. With this in mind, we have created resources for childcares and families for how to care for children while school is out.
We understand that these announcements call on our whole community to think creatively about how to meet everyone’s basic needs and maintain social connections, while also minimizing the spread of disease.
Why is “social distancing” important?
Social distancing, or putting distance between yourself and others, helps reduce the spread of disease. Prohibiting events and large gatherings reduces the amount of close contact between people and reduces the chances of spreading disease. Many people who do get sick with COVID-19 will experience mild illness, but some people – particularly people over age 60 and those with underlying health conditions – may experience severe illness and require hospitalization. Taking these actions now will prevent overburdening the healthcare system so that people who need medical care can get it.
Public Health has worked to develop guidance specific to different sectors and their needs.
Please note that many of these were developed with the original guidance for events smaller than 250 people. As of March 16, 2020, these now apply to events for fewer than 50 people.
- For childcares
- For retail businesses
- For gatherings of children and youth
- For faith-based organizations
- For small events
- For homeless service providers
Misinformation about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to create fear and hostility that is hurting many of our communities impacted by inequities, particularly our Chinese and other Asian (and Pacific Islander) communities and unsheltered neighbors. This makes it harder to keep all of us healthy. COVID-19 does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, nationality, language, nor economic situation. King County will not tolerate hate and discrimination of any kind, and condemns the unfounded fear and hostility aimed toward our API and unsheltered communities. Let us remember that we are stronger together, particularly in slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and promoting our collective health and well-being. King County is striving to be a welcoming community for all – especially for those that face racism and xenophobia.
Thank you for helping share this new information with your networks.
COVID-19 Response – Community Mitigation Group
Public Health-Seattle & King County
Visit www.kingcounty.gov/covid for updates or follow us on social media (@KCPubHealth)