March 30, 2020
Since Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order took effect last week, there has been some confusion around what businesses are essential and what ones should close.
A full list is available on the state website here. Businesses are asked to review the list and then determine whether they fall into the essential or non-essential category.
It is up to businesses to make the decision to close, not local jurisdictions or local police.
Residents concerned that non-essential businesses are violating the order to shut down can now file an online complaint, according to Inslee who held a press conference March 30, 2020 to reinforce the need for the public to comply with his stay home order.
While the vast majority of businesses across the state are complying, some continue to operate against the order – including here in Lakewood.
For those reported to the state, state agencies will contact the businesses to provide guidance and information around how to comply with the order. The goal is for everyone to comply voluntarily, however if a business continues to “willfully and flagrantly” violate the order and create a public health risk, stricter enforcement actions could follow, according to the governor’s office.
Under the state emergency proclamation willful violation of the order is a gross misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Issued March 23, 2020, the order banned public gatherings of all sizes immediately and the restrictions around business took effect March 25. The initial order is for two weeks, however Inslee has signaled it will likely be extended, though for how long is yet to be determined.
For more information around the governor’s order visit the state website.
For information around what is happening in Pierce County, including total confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as ways to stay healthy at home, visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website.
Latest headlines around Lakewood operations in response to COVID-19 can be found here.