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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to order all bars and restaurants to close to fight coronavirus

FILE -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee reads from an email from his mobile phone as he talks to reporters while King County Executive Dow Constantine listens, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, during a news conference in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Summary

The ban, to be issued via emegency proclamation Monday, will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies

Inslee also revised his ban on events to prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people, previously the cap was 250 people

Public health officials in the Seattle area reported two more COVID-19 deaths, bring the total statewide to at least 42

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday night that he would order all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the state with by far the most deaths in the U.S. from the disease.

In a statement Inslee said the ban, to be issued via emegency proclamation Monday, wouldn’t apply to grocery stores and pharmacies and that restaurants could continue take-out and delivery services.

No time frame was given on how long the restrictions will last. Inslee also revised his ban on events to prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people. Previously the size limit was more than 250.

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges,” Inslee said.

Other governors have instituted such measures. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs to close in the nation’s most populous state. The governors of Ohio, Massachusetts and Illinois also ordered bars and restaurants to shutter.

Public health officials in the Seattle area reported two more COVID-19 deaths, bring the total statewide to at least 42.

Both additional deaths announced Sunday were residents of the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the suburban nursing home that has been the centre of the outbreak in the hard-hit region. They were a woman in her 60s who died Saturday and a woman in her 70s who died Thursday.

That makes 29 coronavirus-related fatalities linked to the nursing home. There are more than 750 confirmed cases statewide.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover.

Also, an emergency room doctor at a suburban Seattle hospital that has treated many people with coronavirus has contracted the disease.

Evergreen Health Medical Center in Kirkland, Washington, said in a statement Sunday that the doctor was in “critical condition but stable.”

Dr. Liam Yore, the immediate past president of the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told The Seattle Times the doctor was in his 40s. Yore told the newspaper the doctor had used personal protective equipment and that it was not known whether the physician contracted COVID-19 in the community or at work