Facing increasing cases of coronavirus in Washington – and surging cases in other areas of the country – on Thursday, July 2nd, Governor Inslee announced a new statewide emergency order requiring businesses to refuse service to patrons not wearing face coverings. The new order starts next week.
During Thursday’s press conference, Health Secretary John Wiesman said Washington DOH was expected to report a one-day high of new coronavirus cases today. The official number came in at 716 new cases.
Inslee also announced a statewide, two-week pause on county phase progression through the state’s SafeStart reopening plan. All counties will remain in their current phases during that time.
Last week the state also froze all progression to phase 4, with 8 counties eligible for that move at the time.
King County is currently in phase 2 and was eligible to apply for phase 3 this week, but increasing cases and a climbing infection rate were making that less likely.
Locally, North Bend and Snoqualmie reported 10 new coronavirus cases between June 28-30 – after reporting 5 new cases over the previous four weeks. Testing has also increased the second half of June.
Inslee also announced a new restriction on bars in SafeStart phase 3. Under the new rule, bar seating will be banned. Bars can still reopen in phase 3, but patrons will have to sit at tables.
“We’re doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state,” Inslee said. “The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shutdown the economy.”