Several updates emanated from the Office of the Governor in December. Many regarding benefits that the Governor is extending to help people through these trying times, there was also an extension and modification to the current restrictions.
- Economic support for workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19,
- New three week extension of current statewide restrictions to last until January 4, 2021,
- Modification of Proclamation 20-25 regarding singing in groups.
As before, the modifications do not apply to education (including but not limited to K-12, higher education, trade and vocational schools), childcare, recovery support groups, health care, and courts and judicial branch-related proceedings, all of which are exempt and shall continue to follow current guidance.
Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown joined Governor Inslee in announcing an additional $50 million to Washington small businesses. Businesses severely damaged by the shut-downs, such as restaurants, fitness centers, music and event venues, are being prioritized. Further, the state is ready to assist funding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in case Congress fails to. “Whether it is through federal or state aid, if Congress fails to act by Christmas, we will step up to help workers and their families who are not covered by pre-pandemic unemployment insurance benefits,” Inslee said. Washington state will be able to fund residents that aren’t normally eligible for regular unemployment, such as independent, self-employed workers.
Current restrictions, which took effect last November 17th, have been extended for another three weeks, lasting until January 4th, 2021. Citing the unknown fallout of post-holiday infections and grave concerns over current 80% ICU occupancy rates, the state hopes extending the shut-downs will allow the medical system time to increase its capacity before it becomes overwhelmed by pandemic sufferers.
Lastly, Declaration 20-25 was revised to include order #17, which discusses singing. Specifically, it says:
“17. Singing in Enclosed Spaces: In all other circumstances not specifically addressed in this order, group singing, with or without face coverings, with members who are outside of a person’s household is prohibited in enclosed, indoor spaces. Outdoor singing, while participants wear face coverings, is permitted, so long as the activity otherwise complies with guidance specific to that activity.”
The Governor’s original proclamation, written February 29th, 2020, has been revised several times. To read the full recent proclamation, please see: DPGazette.com/proc20259