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Gov. Jay Inslee addresses the state before signing a stay at home order in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic (March 23, 2020). Photo: Office of the Governor

Governor Inslee issues “stay-at-home” order for 2 weeks

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee spoke to the public today to announce a stay-at-home order that goes into effect immediately and will last for 2 weeks with the possibility of being extended further.

Inslee used the 15-minute public address to let citizens know he would be signing a statewide order requiring all Washington residents to stay at home, except to accomplish essential activities like buying groceries, seeking medical care or going to work at essential businesses.

The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:

  • Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment
  • Getting takeout food (Food deliveries also are permitted)
  • Going to work at an essential business
  • Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of six feet is maintained

“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said. 

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Speaking of the order on, Inslee said “We’ve been very clear on the need for everyone to stay home. And, while most Washingtonians are doing their part, some still don’t grasp the seriousness of this pandemic.”

The proclamation states it’s still safe for people to go outside as long as they remain at least six feet from each other. Grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other essential businesses will remain open. People can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — as long as they follow social distancing rules.

All grocery stores, pharmacies, childcare facilities, gas stations, food supply chains and other things that offer people basic, crucial needs will remain open. Inslee expects businesses and residents to voluntarily comply. He will discuss possible enforcement mechanisms in the coming days if residents and businesses do not comply.

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We want to remind people that the food supply operations — including hunger relief and nutritional support services — are essential services that will remain open and operational through this crisis; this order does not ban people getting access to food.


* Food banks and food pantries are essential services that will remain in operation through this restriction.
* You can still go to a food pantry to pick up groceries but check the hours before you go. Hours of operation may vary and many hunger relief organizations are moving to new ways to distribute food, such as home delivery and drop-off sites.

* Food bank volunteers may continue to go to work at food pantries.

Gov. Jay Inslee via

This would make Washington the 14th state to institute such a mandate as a result of the COVID-19 disease pandemic.

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