Following similar announcements by other states around the nation, Washington will move to temporarily shutter a variety of businesses, including bars and restaurants, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee announced this evening.
The economic impact of this decision will be significant and follows Inslee's order on Friday to close schools across the state. Nationally, 15 million people work in America's restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association.
“Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation tomorrow to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities," Inslee says in a statement tonight. "Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted."
Gatherings of more than 50 people will also be prohibited, the governor says. "I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges," he says.