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Washington: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

WASHINGTON

February 24, 2021:

Governor Inslee issued a proclamation, Proclamation 20-22.8, extending earlier proclamations whereby truck drivers collecting or delivering the following goods are exempt from regulations regarding hour caps:

  • Livestock and livestock feed;
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19;
  • Vaccines and related supplies or ingredients, as well as other supplies used for the prevention of COVID-19;
  • Supplies related to community health, including but not limited to masks and gloves; and
  • Food, paper products, and other groceries for the emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

The Proclamation will remain in effect through May 31, 2021.

February 23, 2021:

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission extended protections, previously set to expire on April 30, through July 31, 2021. These protections keep customers from being disconnected from utilities until August 1, at the earliest, and waives any late fees through January 27, 2022.

February 22, 2021:

On February 19, 2021, Governor Inslee signed into law a bill appropriating the $2.2 billion in federal funds distributed to Washington as part of the COVID-19 relief efforts. The law includes allocations of:

  • $714 million for K-12 schools;
  • $618 million for public health;
  • $365 million for eviction and rental assistance;
  • $240 million for business assistance grants;
  • $50 million for childcare;
  • $26 million for food banks and other food assistance programs; and
  • $91 million for income assistance.

Insurance Commissioner Kreidler extended two emergency orders on February 19, 2021. Those orders, which require health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and protect consumers from surprise fees associated with COVID-19 testing, are now set to expire on March 21, 2021.

February 18, 2021:

Washington announced that three additional commercial pharmacy chains – Walmart, Rite Aid, and Kroger - will begin vaccinating Washington residents starting Monday, February 22.

February 17, 2021:

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) is expanding its voluntary school testing initiative, whereby the DOH works in conjunction with school districts to tailor testing programs for each district. Joining the program provides a school district with a dedicated testing strategy planner and an array of testing options.

February 16, 2021:

After receiving updated data from a Walla Walla hospital, Washington moved the South Central Region to Phase 2 of the Washington Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan. With this change, all regions of Washington are currently in Phase 2, the more lenient phase of the plan.

February 11, 2021:

Effective February 15, 2021, five additional regions will join the West and Puget Sound regions in the second phase of Washington’s reopening plan. This change will alter the restrictions in the East, North, North Central, Northwest, and Southwest regions. Remaining in the first phase is the South Central region, comprised of Benton, Franklin, Columbia, Kittitas, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties.

February 8, 2021:

Governor Inslee enacted a law on February 8, 2021 designed to prevent the automatic unemployment tax increases that would have occurred as a result of businesses receiving COVID-19 relief benefits. In addition, the law delays unemployment tax increases until 2025 and increases unemployment benefits for persons making between $21,000 and $27,800 annually, raising weekly benefit to $270 from $201.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order requiring health insurers to treat drive-up COVID-19 testing as a provider visit and cover telehealth visits, and COVID-19, flu, and other respiratory testing.

February 1, 2021:

Washington announced minor changes to its Roadmap to Recovery plan, whereby different regions are subject to restrictions based on certain metrics. Prior to this change, regions had to show improvement in four metrics: COVID-19 case rates, COVID-19 hospitalization rates, ICU-bed occupancy, and COVID-19 test positivity rates in order to move to Phase 2. Now, regions will only need to demonstrate improvement in three of those four metrics. Currently two regions, West and Puget Sound, are in Phase 2, while all other regions remain in Phase 1.

The Washington State Superintendent announced a new plan to vaccinate educators and school staff that will begin once educators are eligible for vaccines under Washington’s protocols. The new “Get Ready” plan calls for multiple vaccination sites specifically for educators throughout the state and will work alongside schools’ existing vaccination plans.

In line with requirements set by the federal government, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation ensuring that persons in foster care in the state do not age out of foster care benefits by reaching 21 years of age during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 28, 2021:

Governor Inslee announced that two regions, the Puget Sound Region (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) and the West Region (Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, and Thurston Counties), have advanced to Phase Two in the Healthy Washington plan originally implemented by Governor Inslee on January 11. These seven counties may now reopen indoor service at restaurants and live entertainment venues, but at 25% of max capacity. Governor Inslee also announced that the regions would be evaluated every two weeks, rather than the weekly evaluation the state had been performing.

January 25, 2021:

The Washington State Department of Health announced that none of the eight regions were eligible to move to Phase 2 as part of Governor Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery plan for the week of January 25, 2021. The regions will be reassessed each Friday and must show a decrease in per-capita COVID-19 case rates, per-capita COVID-19 hospitalizations, occupancy of ICU beds, and COVID-19 test positivity rates.

January 21, 2021:

The City of Seattle has opened applications for certain low-income workers in the hospitality industry who live and work in Seattle and have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to receive a one-time cash payment. Applications are open until February 1, 2021.

January 20, 2021:

On January 15, the Washington State Department of Health announced that each of the eight regions would remain in Phase 1 for the following week, as none of the regions had met the four metrics (decrease in cases per 100k, decrease in hospitalizations, less than 90% occupancy, and test positivity rate below 10%) required to move to Phase 2.

On January 18, Governor Inslee announced a new state plan for vaccine distribution, with the goal of vaccinating 45,000 Washingtonians each day. The newly-established Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center will include both public and private actors, including assistance from Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco, and the National Guard. Along with this announcement, certain changes were made to vaccination phases, including changing the age restriction for Phase 1b, tier 1, which began on January 19, 2021, to 65+, as opposed to 70+. Washington will allow providers to move to Phase 1B, tier 2 once 50% of the Phase 1B, tier 1 has been vaccinated. Finally, Washington is allowing providers to vaccinate Phase 1b, tiers 2-4 individuals if they are in congregate settings (for example, if a school district is vaccinating its employees, it can vaccinate all employees who qualify for Phase 1b, tiers 2, 3, and 4).

Governor Inslee extended 26 emergency proclamations on January 19, 2021, after the Washington legislature authorized the extending of those proclamations, which last throughout the duration of the state of emergency. Among other things, the extended proclamations:

  • Suspend in-person eye examinations and renewals related to driver’s licenses;
  • Suspend laws and rules relating to tax penalties, fees, interest, and due dates;
  • Prohibit the disconnecting of energy, telecommunications, or water services due to nonpayment, as well as prohibiting the charging of late fees;
  • Require online public agency meetings to be available to the public;
  • Suspend the job search requirement to collect unemployment insurance;
  • Suspend some requirements to license health care providers to increase the availability of health care workers;
  • Suspend requirements regarding the licensing of health care facilities and the production of hand sanitizer;
  • Suspend certain requirements for the payment of state employee’s vacation and annual leave benefits;
  • Suspend certain rules relating to nursing home transfers and discharges;
  • Suspend certain requirements for in-person hearings and other services related to domestic violence reports;
  • Limit certain rules surrounding the collection of consumer debt;
  • Allow community associations to hold remote meetings; and
  • Delay the implementation of a law prohibiting the use of single-use plastic bags.

January 12, 2021:

On Monday, January 11, Gov. Inslee signed Proclamation 20-25.12, officially instituting “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery,” the statewide reopening plan announced last week. This plan sets restrictions on a regional level based on the status of COVID-19 within those regions. As of January 11, 2021, all eight regions are still in Phase 1, the strictest phase.

January 11, 2021:

The Washington Department of Health announced, on January 8, that all regions would remain in Phase 1 until at least January 18 under the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan released earlier this month. During Phase 1, which is the strictest phrase, indoor social gatherings are banned, indoor dining is prohibited, and indoor entertainment establishments are limited to private rentals/tours of no more than six people.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order regarding telehealth until February 7, 2021. This order requires health insurers to cover telehealth visits, diagnostic tests for the flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses.

January 7, 2021:

The Washington Department of Healthy released updated guidance for vaccine prioritization, setting four tiers within Phase 1B of its vaccine prioritization. Those tiers are as follows:

  • Tier 1: Persons 70 years or older AND people 50 years or older living in multigenerational households;
  • Tier 2: High risk critical workers 50 years or older working in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, schools, childcare, corrections or detention facilities, public transit, and first responders;
  • Tier 3: People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions;
  • Tier 4: Critical workers in certain settings under 50 years of age AND people, staff, and volunteers in congregate living settings, including correctional facilities, group homes for people with disabilities, and people experiencing homelessness.

January 6, 2021:

Governor Inslee announced a roadmap to the return to normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach, which will begin on January 11, 2021, will break the state into eight regions based on counties. Four metrics will be measured in each region – COVID-19 case trends, COVID-19 hospitalization trends, COVID-19 positivity rate, and ICU occupancy – to determine whether the region can move from Phase I to Phase II. The changes from Phase I to Phase II are as follows:

  • A max of five people outside of the household for indoor social gatherings, compared to zero in Phase I;
  • A max of 15 people outside of the household for outdoor social gatherings, compared to 10 in Phase I;
  • Weddings and funerals are allowed indoor, so long as the venue follows requirements, including those for eating and drinking establishments if food or drink is served, compared to no indoor ceremonies in Phase I;
  • Low and moderate risk sports competitions are allowed indoor, as well as 25% capacity at fitness establishments, compared to only low risk sports and appointment based fitness training in Phase I;
  • All outdoor sports allowed, as opposed to only low and moderate risk sports in Phase I;
  • 25% capacity for indoor entertainment establishments (including theaters, bowling, concert halls, etc.), as opposed to private tours only;
  • Groups of 15 and a maximum of 200 people at outdoor entertainment establishments, as opposed to a maximum of groups of 10 in Phase I.

January 4, 2021:

Governor Inslee formally extended a statewide moratorium on evictions on December 31, 2020, with the stop to evictions now lasting through March 31, 2021. The proclamation also extended ongoing statewide rent assistance programs and incorporate similar federal programs.

December 30, 2020:

Governor Inslee extended statewide restrictions for an additional week, with these restrictions now set to expire on January 11, 2021. These restrictions (i) limit indoor social gatherings to those within a household unless the outside individuals quarantine prior to the gathering; (ii) limit outdoor social gatherings to five individuals outside of the household; (iii) close restaurants and bars to indoor service; (iv) close indoor fitness facilities and gyms; (v) limit indoor retail to 25% capacity; (vi) limit religious services to 25% capacity; and (viii) require visits to long-term care facilities to occur outside, among other restrictions.

December 28, 2020:

On December 27, Governor Inslee announced new, temporary state benefits for 94,555 Washingtonians who will be affected by the week-long lapse of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expired on December 26, 2020 and was not renewed until December 27, 2020. Governor Inslee allocated $54 million to these payments, which total $550 per claimant.

Also, on December 24, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended two emergency orders until January 23, 2021. These orders require health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and protected Washingtonians from surprise bills related to COVID-19 testing.

Further, on December 23, Governor Inslee extended the Washington eviction moratorium to March 31, 2021. It was previously set to expire on December 31, 2020.

December 21, 2020:

On December 18, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation delaying the implementation of a law that restricted the use of single-use plastic bags until at least January 31, 2021. The proclamation delays the ban on single-use bans due to issues caused by COVID-19 in the supply chain of plastic bag producers and retailers asking customers not to bring in reusable cloth or other material bags in order to avoid common touch points.

December 17, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced updated school guidance for in-person instruction on December 16, 2020. The guidance is based on case rates on a county-by-county basis. In counties with “low” COVID-19 case activity, defined as <50 cases/100K residents over the last 14 days, in-person learning should be available for all students. In counties with moderate COVID-19 case activity, defined as between 50 and 350 cases/100K residents over the last 14 days, in-person learning should be phased in while prioritizing elementary education. Finally, in counties with high case counts, defined as over 350 cases per 100K residents over the last 14 days, in-person learning should be phased in with groups of 15 or fewer students for elementary students, particularly pre-K through grade 3. The state also set aside $3 million to help implement these health and safety protocols.

December 15, 2020:

On December 14, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation prohibiting the termination of agreements creating health districts and combined city-county health departments during the ongoing state of emergency. Proclamation 20-78 prevents a party to such an agreement from terminating the agreement unless all parties to agreement mutually agree on the agreement’s termination or with approval of the Secretary of Health. The proclamation went into immediate effect and is expected to last the duration of the state of emergency.

December 14, 2020:

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order on December 11, 2020, requiring health insurers to cover telehealth visits, to cover all diagnostic testing for the flu or other viral respiratory illnesses with no copay, coinsurance or deductible, and to treat drive-up COVID-19 testing as a provider visit with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.

The Washington Department of Health announced plans for the administration of the first COVID-19 vaccines, which arrived this week. The state expects to receive 62,400 doses of the vaccine, which will be distributed among 17 sites in 13 counties to Phase 1a individuals, including high-risk health care workers and first responders, as well as the patients and staff of long-term care facilities. Additional shipments are expected, with regular shipments beginning in January.

December 10, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued updated guidance today for safety measures to be adopted by public transportation services, which is any transportation that provides regular and continuing general or transportation to the public, but not including school buses, charter, tribal transportation or sightseeing services. The new rules require public transportation services to:

  • Adopt a written employee and customer safety plan following or exceeding these guidelines;
  • Adhere to the current mask order and other Department of Health and Department of Labor guidelines;
  • Encourage physical distancing of its customers and keep riders at least three feet from other households or travel parties
  • Maintain six feet of physical separation between the operator and customers
  • Provide hand sanitizer, wipes, or towelettes
  • Establish, post, and update regular cleaning schedules
  • Screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Post signs informing customers of the mask requirement and encouraging customers to stay home if they are feeling ill; and
  • Appoint a COVID-19 plan monitor.

On December 9, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health introduced a new program intended to provide individuals isolating or quarantining due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to COVID-19. Care Connect Washington will help connect those persons to services such as medication delivery, health care, unemployment assistance, housing agencies, food banks, and childcare providers. An eligible person must be referred to Care Connect Washington to take advantage of these services.

December 8, 2020:

Governor Inslee extended restrictions originally put into place on November 15, 2020, with those restrictions now expiring January 4, 2021, rather than the original December 13, 2020 expiration date. These restrictions limit social gatherings, weddings, funerals, in-store retail (25% capacity), religious services (25% capacity OR 200 people, whichever is fewer), offices, and long-term care facility visits. The restrictions also close indoor dining service, gyms and other fitness facilities, movie theaters, bowling center, museums, zoos, and aquariums and prohibit real estate open houses.

Governor Inslee additionally announced a further $50 million in funding of the Working Washington Small Business grants. These grants offer small businesses up to $20,000 in funds while prioritizing businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019 and businesses in sectors particularly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions. While there is no formal deadline for these grants, funding is limited and priority is given to applications received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020.

Finally, Governor Inslee announced that job search requirements for unemployment claims will continue to be suspended until the week starting January 24, 2021, at the earliest.

December 3, 2020:

On December 2, Washington announced the opening of the third round of Working Washington grants for small businesses, with grants for up to $20,000 per business being available. Washington is offering $50M in total grant funding, prioritizing businesses with less than $5M in 2019 revenues or in industries that have been particularly impacted by COVID-19. Interested businesses are encouraged to apply by December 11, 2020.

Additionally, on December 2, Governor Inslee updated restrictions for religious and faith based organizations, clarifying that outdoor services may have up to 200 attendees and that outdoor services may occur anywhere rather than solely on the property of the organization.

December 1, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced a statewide COVID-19 exposure application for smartphones on Monday, November 30. The app would alert a user if they spent time near another user who later tests positive for COVID-19.

November 30, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-24.2, which shall be effective on December 3, 2020 until the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, concerning additional requirements for health and dental facilities. This proclamation increases the requirements a health or dental facility must meet in terms of, among other factors, PPE supplies, testing of health care professionals, community hospital capacity, and social distancing inside the facility before being able to offer non-urgent medical procedures.

November 24, 2020:

On November 20, Governor Inslee announced additional financial support funds for families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. "We know this pandemic is taking an economic toll," Inslee said during a press conference Friday. "On Sunday we announced $50 million in business supports, but after more discussions with legislators and our agencies, we’ve agreed on how to more than double that."

In addition to funds announced on Sunday, the total new economic supports amount to $135 million. Included in that total is:

  • $70 million in business support grants.
  • $30 million for the recovery loan program.
  • $20 million for rental assistance.
  • $15 million for energy bills for low-income households.

Included in the $70 million in business support grants is $50 million for a new round of Working Washington grants focused on the hardest-hit industries. Remaining funds will go toward historically disadvantaged businesses who applied for earlier business grants and bolstering Commerce’s business resiliency network.

The grants will be allocated first to businesses most impacted by both COVID-19 and the most recent measures taken to address public safety. Equity will also be a priority in making allocation decisions. In addition to the new funds, there will also be separate business support programs coming from local governments. Find more information on available business assistance here.

November 17, 2020:

On November 15, Governor Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country. The new restrictions come as Washington sees consistent increasing daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks. The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 a.m. To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. In the short term, the state is commuting $20 million be dedicated to cash assistance targeted directly to hardest hit industries. Remaining funds will be focused on supporting recovery efforts through business loans. Additional details are forthcoming – the current full proclamation is available here, with a guidance available here.

On November 13, Governor Inslee, issued a travel advisory for Washington, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home. Inslee joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Governor Kate Brown in urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security. Read the advisory here.

On November 9, Governor Inslee, announced the extension of 27 proclamations in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. A November 9 letter from the Legislature extended the following proclamations until December 7, 2020:

  • 20-15.9: Department of Licensing (20-15.8)
  • 20-20.9: Department of Revenue - Relief from Penalties, Fees, Interest, Due Dates (20-20.8)
  • 20-21.9: Unemployment Benefit – 1 Week Waiver (20-21.8)
  • 20-23.12: Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services (20-23.11)
  • 20-28.12: Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act (20-28.11)
  • 20-29.9: Telemedicine (20-29.8)
  • 20-30.9: Unemployment Benefit – Job Search Requirement (20-30.8)
  • 20-31.9: Division of Child, Youth, and Families – Child Care and Background Checks (20-31.8)
  • 20-32.9: Department of Health– Health Care Workers (20-32.8)
  • 20-36.7: Department of Health - Health Care Facilities and Hand Sanitizer (20-36.6)
  • 20-41.10: Department of Licensing – License and Permit Renewal Extension (20-41.9)
  • 20-43.8: Office of Financial Management, State Human Resources Division – Annual Leave and Pay Procedures (20-43.7)
  • 20-44.8: Nursing Home Transfer or Discharge for COVID-19 Cohorting Purposes (20-44.7)
  • 20-45.8: Protection Orders and Personal Service (20-45.7)
  • 20-48.8: Department of Licensing – CDL Health Certificates and Other Requirements (20-48.7)
  • 20-49.10: Garnishments and Accrual of Interest (20-49.9)
  • 20-51.9: Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees (20-51.8)
  • 20-52.8: Statewide Orders Relating to Long-Term Care (20-52.7)
  • 20-56.6: Tribal Fuel Tax Refund Restrictions (20-56.5)
  • 20-58.5: Shared Work (20-58.4)
  • 20-59.6: Temporary Licensing - Dental and Pharmacy Graduates (20-59.5)
  • 20-63.4: Department of Social and Health Services - Family Emergency Assistance Program (20-63.3)
  • 20-64.3: Public Records Act – Contact Tracing -- Personal Information (20-64.2)
  • 20-65.3: Long Term Care – Workers, Facilities, and Resources (20-65.2)
  • 20-66.3: Long-Term Care – Operations and Visitation (20-66.2)
  • 20-69.2: Residency for Tuition Waivers (20-69.1)
  • 20-74.1: Behavioral Health Association, Children’s Long-Term Inpatient Program and Residential Treatment Facilities – Operations and Visitation (20-74)

October 21, 2020:

On October 21, Governor Inslee announced the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund is now open for applications. The relief fund will provide $40 million in federal funds allocated by the state to assist Washington workers who miss work due to COVID-19 but are unable to access federal stimulus programs and other social supports due to their immigration status. While the fund is operational, eligible recipients will receive $1,000, with a limit of $3,000 per household. The state has selected the Legal Foundation of Washington to administer the program. The Legal Foundation of Washington will work with Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Fair Work Center, Nuestra Casa, Raiz of Planned Parenthood, Scholarship Junkies, Washington Census Alliance, and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, among many others, to distribute these benefits.

On October 21, Governor Inslee announced updated guidance for religious and faith based organizations as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. The religious and faith-based guidance is updated to:

  • Clarify that physical distancing between non-household members must be 6 feet in all directions; and

  • Permit brief physical contact among up to five individuals, excluding religious leaders, if the brief contact is a critical component to the organization’s religious service, so long as masks are worn and hands are sanitized immediately before and after the contact.

On October 20, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation establishing safety guidelines for higher education institutions and living facilities. Higher Education Proclamation 20-12-2 builds on health guidance previously issued for institutions of higher education by adding additional safety measures to address significant increases in COVID-19 infections that have occurred particularly in congregate living areas, like Greek houses, and large social gatherings of students.

Examples of changes include:

  • Limitations on the number of residents who may share a sleeping area;

  • Limitations on the number of people in common areas;

  • Requirements for all people in common areas to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.

In addition, institutions of higher education must provide isolation and quarantine facilities to fraternity, sorority or other group houses, students who live in shared housing near campus, students living in dorms, and personnel if they don’t have a place to go.

October 15, 2020:

On October 13, Governor Inslee introduced a new state effort to help communities recover from the social and economic damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington Recovery Group has been created to help strengthen the state’s recovery efforts. The new group will help state agencies coordinate with local governments, higher education and the private sector. State agency experts will work with local stakeholders and tribal partners to implement recovery solutions and pathways. Those ideas and policy solutions will be presented to cabinet agencies and the Office of Financial Management. The areas of focus include:

  • Community and social services;
  • Education and childcare;
  • Employment and jobs;
  • Equity and social justice;
  • Health and healthcare;
  • Housing;
  • Infrastructure and energy; and
  • Support for small business.

The Washington Recovery Group will be housed at the Office of Financial Management, which will partner with the Emergency Management Division of the state’s Military Department. The WRG, led by Dan McConnon, is scheduled to hold its first meeting later this month.

On October 14, Governor Inslee announced extensions of the eviction moratorium and public utility proclamations. Both proclamations were extended to December 31.

Moratorium on Evictions (20-19.4) (See full Proclamation here)

This extension makes modifications to the prior moratorium, including:

  • Clarifying that tenant behavior which is imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises is included among the existing permissible reasons for seeking to evict a tenant.
  • Authorizing landlords and property owners to send advance notices of future rent increases in limited circumstances, as long as the notice clearly provides that the rent increase will not go into effect until after the moratorium expires.
  • Establishing clearer guidance on permissible communications between landlords and tenants.
  • Requiring that any 60-day notice to vacate if an owner intends to occupy or sell the premises must be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury.
  • The moratorium also directs the governor’s staff to continue working with stakeholders over the next 30 days to consider additional amendments to the moratorium to ensure that the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply narrowly to those persons whose ability to pay has been directly or indirectly materially impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

Ratepayer Assistance (20-23.11) (See full Proclamation here)

This proclamation prohibits energy, water and landline telephone companies from:

  • Disconnecting any residential customers from energy, landline telephone or water service due to nonpayment on an active account, except at the request of the customer.
  • Refusing to reconnect any residential customer who has been disconnected due to nonpayment.
  • Charging fees for late payment or reconnection of energy, landline telephone or water service.
  • Disconnecting service to any residential customer who has contacted the utility to request assistance from the utility’s COVID-19 Customer Support Program.
  • This proclamation does not relieve customers from the obligation to pay for utility services. Customers and utilities are expected to continue to communicate in good faith with one another, and to work together, on the timing and terms of payment and repayment solutions.

October 8, 2020:

On October 8, Governor Inslee released Proclamation 20-74, which amends Proclamations 20-05, 20-06, 20-16, and 20-52, and establishes safety guidelines for behavioral health facilities, including residential treatment facilities, 24/7 facilities, and Children’s Long-Term Inpatient Programs (CLIP). Like the guidelines issued for long-term care facilities, these guidelines allow for visitation to occur between residents and family members, subject to the use of all appropriate safety and health protocols. This proclamation, the full text of which can be found here, is effective until November 9, 2020.

October 6, 2020:

On October 5, Governor Inslee’s Medium page released a story highlighting the ability of Washington manufacturing business to shift production to meet the supply needs necessary resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Impact Washington played a key role in these efforts to help manufacturer adjust their productions to meet the state’s growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

On October 6, Governor Inslee extended 26 proclamations relating to COVID-19 and wildfires. Links to each proclamation and the applicable extension are available at the link provided above. The extension ordered by Governor Inslee includes the following proclamations, which are extend until November 9, 2020. 

  • 20-15.8: Department of Licensing (20-15.7)
  • 20-20.8: Department of Revenue - Relief from Penalties, Fees, Interest, Due Dates (20-20.7)
  • 20-21.8: Unemployment Benefit – 1 Week Waiver (20-21.7)
  • 20-23.9: Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services (20-23.8)
  • 20-28.11: Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act (20-28.10)
  • 20-29.8: Telemedicine (20-29.7)
  • 20-30.8: Unemployment Benefit – Job Search Requirement (20-30.7)
  • 20-31.8: Division of Child, Youth, and Families – Child Care and Background Checks (20-31.7)
  • 20-32.8: Department of Health– Health Care Workers (20-32.7)
  • 20-36.6: Department of Health - Health Care Facilities and Hand Sanitizer (20-36.5)
  • 20-41.9: Department of Licensing – License and Permit Renewal Extension (20-41.8)
  • 20-43.7: Office of Financial Management, State Human Resources Division – Annual Leave and Pay Procedures (20-43.6)
  • 20-44.7: Nursing Home Transfer or Discharge for COVID-19 Cohorting Purposes (20-44.6)
  • 20-45.7: Protection Orders and Personal Service (20-45.6)
  • 20-48.7: Department of Licensing – CDL Health Certificates and Other Requirements (20-48.6)
  • 20-49.9: Garnishments and Accrual of Interest (20-49.8)
  • 20-51.8: Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees (20-51.7)
  • 20-52.7: Statewide Orders Relating to Long-Term Care (20-52.6)
  • 20-56.5: Tribal Fuel Tax Refund Restrictions (20-56.4)
  • 20-58.4: Shared Work (20-58.3)
  • 20-59.5: Temporary Licensing - Dental and Pharmacy Graduates (20-59.4)
  • 20-63.3: Department of Social and Health Services - Family Emergency Assistance Program (20-63.2)
  • 20-64.2: Public Records Act – Contact Tracing -- Personal Information (20-64.1)
  • 20-65.2: Long Term Care – Workers, Facilities, and Resources (20-65.1)
  • 20-66.2: Long-Term Care – Operations and Visitation (20-66.1)

September 28, 2020:

On September 24, Governor Inslee announced new requirements for commercial airports and recommendations for airlines. The new Commercial Service Airport Requirements are a statewide approach to the COVID pandemic to ensure the health and safety of employees, passengers and crewmembers working and traveling to and from the state’s aviation sector. The guidance will require face coverings in the airport; signage and spacing for physical distancing; protective barriers between travelers and workers; sanitizer and disinfectant protocols; and that airport vendors and businesses follow state and county health agency requirements.

It also strongly encourages airlines to establish health screening questionnaires for passengers regarding potential COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, and to require passengers abide by face covering and physical distancing requirements in order to be issued a boarding pass.

On September 25, Governor Inslee extended a proclamation related to the Washington residency requirement for public university tuition waivers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This proclamation suspends the residency requirement that allows public university graduate students to receive tuition waivers in exchange for performing teaching and research functions. The proclamation is extended through November 9, and the full text is available here.

September 22, 2020:

On September 22, Governor Inslee issued guidance for certain venues, including convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in hotels, events centers and other similar venues as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. The guidance allows business meetings, professional development training and testing, and substantially similar activities to occur away from business premises and with additional attendees, as long as all requirements are met. Detailed requirements are found on the guidance document, and the associated memo.

September 21, 2020:

On September 21, Governor Inslee announced updated guidance for agritourism as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. Effective September 21, all agritourism activities are allowed to operate in Modified Phase 1 counties under Phase 2 guidance. While the full guidance is available here, under the September 21 update, agritourism businesses are now permitted to offer the following additional activities:

  • Animal viewing
  • Hay/wagon/train rides
  • Children’s play equipment/games
  • Private firepit/bonfires

A full list of current guidance is available for Modified Phase 1 here.

September 17, 2020:

On September 17, Governor Inslee updated Proclamation 20-28, also impacting Proclamations 20-05 and 20-68. The proclamation, initially issued in response to COVID-19, has been updated to allow in-person meetings for cities, counties and agencies where wildfires have substantially interrupted or degraded telecommunications services. This proclamation makes an exception to the general ban on in-person meetings in areas of the state that are unable to convene remote meetings because wildfires have significantly degraded telecommunications.

In-person meetings are limited to the number of people permitted to gather in the county in which the meeting will take place. Other requirements apply, including maintaining six feet of distance between attendees, wearing face coverings, and ratifying any action taken at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

This proclamation remains in effect until power is returned in the area or October 1, whichever occurs sooner. The full text of the proclamation is available here.

Additionally, on September 17, Governor Inslee announced updated guidance for weddings and funerals as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan. The update allows wedding and funeral receptions to resume, as long as they meet specific requirements.

  • Receptions and ceremonies must be capped at 30 people, or 25% of venue occupancy, whichever is less.
  • All tables at the reception must be seated by household, with table sizes capped at 5 people.
  • Facial coverings are required, and social distancing must be maintained.

The full guidance document is available here, and an associated memo here.

September 14, 2020:

On September 11, Governor Inslee announced updated guidance for indoor fitness and training facilities. This guidance is part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. Effective today, indoor fitness and training facilities are allowed to operate in Modified Phase 1 counties under Phase 2 guidance. This means that facilities like gyms, yoga studios, and indoor sports facilities can open for personal fitness and training, group fitness classes, and practice for certain low- and medium-contact sports. Occupancy is limited to ensure proper physical distancing, and masks are required. See the full list of current reopening guidance here.

September 8, 2020:

On September 4, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation related to public Department of Natural Resources (DNR) meetings that occur during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Proclamation 20-71 waives the in-person meeting requirements for the DNR. These statutes are located in DNR’s statutes, not within the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). This waiver is identical to the waiver in the OPMA proclamation, which waives open in-person meeting requirements though guarantees public access to observe agency proceedings through, at a minimum, telephonic access.

September 1, 2020:

On August 31, Governor Inslee announced nearly $190 million will be awarded from the state’s federal stimulus funding to local governments that did not receive direct distributions under the CARES Act.

The new funding for cities and counties comes on top of nearly $300 million that was distributed last spring to cities and counties with populations under 500,000 that were ineligible to receive direct funding from the federal government under the CARES Act.

Specific allocations to cities and counties will be released by the Department of Commerce in the coming days. Each county will receive a minimum distribution of $300,000 and each city will receive a minimum distribution of $30,000 from the state. The state Department of Health will distribute funding for local health jurisdictions.

August 26, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued two proclamations related to public education in response to COVID-19. First, Proclamation 20-69 relates to the Washington residency requirement for public university tuition waivers for graduate students. It suspends the residency requirement that allows public university graduate students to receive tuition waivers in exchange for performing teaching and research functions. The proclamation is effective for 30 days and will expire on September 25.

Second, Proclamation 20-70 addresses student transportation for public K-12 schools. It prohibits school districts from interpreting the Student Transportation statutes in a manner that would restrict a school’s ability to use its current transportation allocation for certain purposes. The permitted purposes include using buses and bus drivers to deliver educational materials (homework/educational packets/other tangible instructional materials); meals; and any technology (like WiFi hotspots) that will enable students to learn remotely. The proclamation also requires school districts to track and document the specific time and uses of school buses and bus drivers to deliver the above services.

August 24, 2020:

On August 20, Governor Inslee announced updated guidance as part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. The updated guidance relates to:

  • Museums:
    • These guidelines would allow museums in Phase 2 counties to operate as long as they meet certain requirements. Museums in Phase 3 counties would be required to lower occupancy.
  • Bowling:
    • These guidelines would allow for bowling league play in Phases 2 and 3, as long as facilities meet certain requirements.
  • Agritourism:
    • This guidance would allow for agritourism such as U-pick farms and tree farms to operate in Phase 2 counties (memo).
  • Outdoor Recreation:
    • Updates to the outdoor recreation guidance clarify restrictions to non-spectator motor-sports in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan. These changes go into effect on August 24.

August 20, 2020:

On August 19th, Governor Inslee issued an update to Proclamation 20-57, “Concerning the Health of Agricultural Workers.” The Proclamation now requires agricultural employers to test their workforce broadly when health officials identify an outbreak that passes certain thresholds. Since Proclamation 20-57 was first issued on May 28, the total number of cases in Washington has increased from 21,138 to 67,721, an average rate of more than 500 new cases per day. Many of these are appearing at farms and food-packing facilities, where employees often work, travel, and live together in close contact.

August 17, 2020:

On August 13, 2020 Governor Inslee issued a Proclamation 20-67 that sets forth the parameters for the Washington COVID-19 Food Production Paid Leave Program. The Proclamation will go into effect on August 18, 2020. The program provides a $3 million fund to support workers in the food production industry who are unable to obtain leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Governor Inslee also announced the extension of Proclamation 20-22, which waives/suspends restrictions on truck driver hours. The original proclamation was issued on March 18th, and is now extended to September 14, 2020.

August 11, 2020:

On August 10, Governor Inslee announced guidance for agricultural events, updated guidance for indoor fitness, and religious and faith-based services.

The agricultural guidelines and requirements apply to livestock and horse exhibitions/shows/sales/auctions, companion animal (dog, cats, rabbits, etc.) shows, or any substantially similar event.

For indoor fitness, Governor Inslee released additional FAQ clarification. The FAQ expands on guidance released August 3 and is effective beginning August 10. The updated FAQs clarify guidance for larger indoor fitness and training facilities where adequate social distancing and sanitation protocols can be followed. In all cases, individuals are encouraged to exercise outdoors whenever possible.

For religious and faith-based services, Governor Inslee issued updated guidance. The guidance, which reduces restrictions for some religious and faith-based services, is effective beginning August 10.

Governor Inslee also announced the creation of two funds to help immigrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Immigrant Relief Fund will provide $40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status, and the Food Production Paid Leave Program will provide $3 million of financial resources to certain food production workers who remain home when ill.

August 10, 2020:

On August 6, Governor Inslee announced guidance that allows long-term care facilities to offer visitation and other activities. Many long-term care facilities were forced to curtail social activities for residents and visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19. However, the announcement does not constitute an immediate reopening of all long-term care facilities. The plan goes into effect August 12, and even after it becomes effective, individual facilities must meet additional parameters before re-opening.

August 6, 2020:

On August 5th, Governor Inslee announced new recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health for resuming in-person instruction in public and private K-12 education for the upcoming 2020–21 school year.

The plan includes several different considerations for deciding whether to return to in-person learning. However, the state strongly recommends school districts move to mostly online or remote learning when county COVID-19 infection rates are high.

The framework looks at individual county data and is broken into three categories of disease transmission level: high risk, moderate risk and low risk. This is measured by the incidence of cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.

Also, on August 5th, Governor Inslee announced that Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada will work together to identify best practices that support telehealth services for their residents. These states will have individual state-driven approaches to implementing telehealth policies but will be guided by shared overarching principles in a coordinated effort.

August 5, 2020:

On August 4, Governor Inslee announced the extension of two proclamations, to September 1st, in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The extended proclamations are:

  • 20-49.7: Protects CARES Act stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments for consumer debt.
  • 20-59.3: Extends the previous waiver/suspension of legal requirements that allows recent dental, dental hygiene and pharmacy graduates to obtain their temporary licenses and begin working if certain conditions are met. It has been amended from the July 31 extension to include denturists to the list of professional graduates who may obtain their temporary licenses.

August 4, 2020:

On August 3rd, Governor Inslee announced updates for Phase 2 and Phase 3 regarding fitness guidance. The new requirements are effective August 10, 2020.

Updates include:

  • Clarification on when facial coverings are required in indoor fitness facilities,
  • Changes to calculation of occupancy limits for large facilities, and

Allowance for fitness and sports training other than group fitness classes.

August 3, 2020:

On July 31st, Governor Inslee announced updates to the July 24th guidance for restaurants, taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries. Changes include clarification about which establishments can offer indoor seating, temporary outdoor seating guidance, and counter-style seating clarifications. A full memo on the issue is also available. No restaurant, tavern, brewery, winery or distillery may operate until they can meet and maintain all the requirements, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply. No reopening inspections are required prior to a restaurant reopening provided they meet and maintain all requirements.

Governor Inslee also released additional guidance related to overnight group summer camps. Overnight group summer camps or similar activities must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the Governor’s guidance, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces, and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations (DOH).

On July 30th, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation related to the state's contact tracing efforts and personal information protection. Proclamation 20-64 exempts personally identifiable information collected by COVID-19 case investigators from public disclosure. The Proclamation does not provide additional exemptions for employees or volunteers who are conducting the contact tracing work, as the Public Records Act already exempts many types of personal information relating to public employees and volunteers.

Governor Inslee also announced the extension of 25 proclamations in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The extensions were approved by the state Legislature.

A July 30th letter from the Legislature extends the following proclamations until September 1, 2020.

  • 20-15.6: Department of Licensing (20-15.5)
  • 20-20.6: Department of Revenue – Relief from Penalties, Fees, Interest, Due Dates (20-20.5)
  • 20-21.6: Unemployment Benefit – 1 Week Waiver (20-21.5)
  • 20-23.7: Ratepayer Assistance and Preservation of Essential Services (20-23.6)
  • 20-27.6: Electronic Notary (20-27.5)
  • 20-28.8: Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act (20-28.7)
  • 20-29.6: Telemedicine (20-29.5)
  • 20-30.6: Unemployment Benefit – Job Search Requirement (20-30.5)
  • 20-31.6: Division of Child, Youth, and Families – Child Care and Background Checks (20-31.5)
  • 20-32.6: Department of Health– Health Care Workers (20-32.5)
  • 20-33.9: Visitation and Remedial Services (20-33.8)
  • 20-36.4: Department of Health – Health Care Facilities and Hand Sanitizer (20-36.3)
  • 20-37.6: Department of Social & Health Services – NAR Waiver (20-37.5)
  • 20-38.6: Department of Social & Health Services – Facilities (20-38.5)
  • 20-41.7: Department of Licensing – License and Permit Renewal Extension (20-41.6)
  • 20-43.5: Office of Financial Management, State Human Resources Division – Annual Leave and Pay Procedures (20-43.4)
  • 20-44.5: Nursing Home Transfer or Discharge for COVID-19 Cohorting Purposes (20-44.4)
  • 20-45.5: Protection Orders and Personal Service (20-45.4)
  • 20-48.5: Department of Licensing – CDL Health Certificates and Other Requirements (20-48.4)
  • 20-51.6: Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees (20-51.5)
  • 20-52.5: Statewide Orders Relating to Long-Term Care (20-52.4)
  • 20-56.3: Tribal Fuel Tax Refund Restrictions (20-56.2)
  • 20-58.2: Shared Work (20-58.1)
  • 20-59.2: Temporary Licensing - Dental and Pharmacy Graduates (20-59.1)
  • 20-63.1: Department of Social and Health Services – Family Emergency Assistance Program (20-63)

July 30, 2020:

On July 29th, Governor Inslee announced the extension of Proclamation 20-46.1, first issued in April, which relates to protections for “high-risk employees” and workers' rights. High-risk employees are those described or defined in the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as further clarified by guidance.

July 29, 2020:

On July 28, Governor Inslee released an additional guidance document following last week's announcement of guidance updates in Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan following the implementation of Proclamation 20-25.7. The memo outlines the previous updates to gatherings, live entertainment, restaurants and taverns, entertainment and recreational centers, card rooms, movie theaters, and weddings and funerals and builds upon the guidance released last week. Governor Inslee also extended the pause indefinitely on counties moving ahead in Washington’s Safe Start plan.

July 27, 2020:

On July 24, Governor Inslee announced the extension of Proclamation 20-25, Washington's Safe Start Phased Reopening plan.

The proclamation also adopts the updated the facial covering order, 20-03.1, which requires every person in Washington state to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are outside, unless subject to an exception. Some of the exceptions include individuals that are under the age of 5, those with a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental condition, or disability.

Additionally, the face covering may be removed if an individual is:

  • In the process of eating or drinking, as long as others are 6 feet apart from others;
  • Participating in exercise activities, at least 6 feet apart from others. However, sports teams and fitness classes must require face coverings;
  • In an outdoor setting, 6 feet apart from others;
  • Showering, bathing, or engaging in personal hygiene that requires removal of the face covering;
  • Engaging in communication with an individual that is deaf or hard of hearing, and wearing a face covering is essential to communication;
  • Engaging in a service that requires a temporary removal of the face covering;
  • Sleeping;
  • Needing to confirm his or her identity, which requires a removal of the face covering;
  • Required to remove a face covering due to a federal or state law;
  • In an emergency situation, which prevents an individual from wearing a face covering.

Governor Inslee updated guidance for restaurants and taverns for Phase 2 and Phase 3. This guidance is expanded to cover restaurants, taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries. The updated guidance includes:

  • Alcohol service at all establishments must end at 10:00 p.m. until Phase 4.
  • Vending and other game areas, including billiards, darts, and video games, are prohibited until Phase 4.
  • In Phase 3, table size is reduced to five (5) individuals, and occupancy is reduced to 50 percent.
  • Bar-area seating is prohibited in all phases.
  • Indoor service at taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries is prohibited until Phase 4.
  • If a brewery or winery also has a restaurant license, it may continue restaurant operations pursuant to the safety requirements for restaurants.
  • For restaurants, indoor dining is limited to members of the same household until Phase 4.

Governor Inslee also announced the extension of the eviction moratorium through October 15. The extension makes modifications to the prior moratorium, including:

  • Minor clarifications to existing restrictions, such as clarifying that law enforcement may serve eviction orders that include findings required by the proclamation; and
  • Creates a workgroup to help inform potential changes to the moratorium in the short-term and the long-term, if needed. The workgroup is specifically asked to consider how future extensions could address options to increase rent.

On July 23, Governor Inslee announced that wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited; however, ceremonies are allowed. Occupancy at such an event is limited to 20% capacity, or 30 people, whichever is less.

July 16, 2020:

Governor Inslee extended the following proclamations until August 1, 2020:        

  • 20-33.8: This proclamation continues to suspend requirements that the Department of Child, Youth, and Families (“DCYF”) facilitate in-person visits for foster children with family and caseworkers and continues to waive requirements that DCYF provide remedial services for children in DCYF custody.
  • 20-58.1: This proclamation waives/suspends the statute that requires shared work benefits to be paid by employers. This allows federal CARES Act funding to be used to pay for the employer portion of shared work benefits.
  • 20-59.1: This proclamation allows dental hygiene and pharmacy graduates to obtain a temporary license if certain conditions are met.

July 15, 2020:

On July 14, Governor Inslee announced the extension of Proclamations 20-05 and 20-22 et seq., which extend the state waiver of truck driver hours restrictions through August 14, 2020.

July 13, 2020:

On July 9, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-63, regarding the Family Emergency Assistance Program (FEAP). This proclamation authorizes the Department of Social and Health Services to expand eligibility for FEAP to include individuals and families without children. The proclamation is effective immediately and will expire at the end of the state of emergency.

July 9, 2020:

On July 8, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation to extend the timeline of three previous proclamations in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamation continues to declare an on-going state of emergency for all counties in the State of Washington. Those proclamation extensions are as follows:

  • 20-28.7: This proclamation suspends particular statutory requirements in the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act, to prevent the gathering of people, and waives the mandated time frame of responding to requests to accommodate the physical closures of public buildings.
  • 20-36.3: This proclamation waives statutory and regulatory requirements regarding DOH licensing of health care facilities, as well as suspends statutory previsions, relaxing restrictions on the manufacturing of hand sanitizer.
  • 20-62: This proclamation waives and suspends certain legal provisions that require the Developmental Disabilities Administration to conduct regular in-person reviews, site-visits and assessments of clients on statutory timelines.

July 8, 2020:

On July 7, Governor Inslee announced the extension of the Safe Start proclamation until August 6, 2020. Inslee’s announcement came with additional clarification for the collaboration between the Safe Start proclamation, and the Department of Health’s face mask requirement. The Yakima County business prohibition was also extended statewide, such that:

  1. No business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct in-person business with a customer in any public setting unless the customer is wearing a face covering (as required, and with the exceptions outlined, in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03);
  2. Individuals are prohibited from entering a place of business without wearing a face covering (per Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03); and
  3. Employers must notify the employer’s local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer’s workplace, or if the employer is aware of 2 or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.

Governor Inslee also announced additional clarification for restaurants and bars that are in Phases 2 and 3 of the Safe Start recovery plan.

July 6, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued an extension of the Safe Start proclamation until July 9. The proclamation extends the provisions of the previous Safe Start proclamation and provides minor clarifications. It also adds the following requirements for employers: cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks; cooperate with the implementation of infection control measures; comply with all public health authority orders and directives; and comply with all Department of Labor & Industries interpretive guidance, regulations and rules. This proclamation was made in anticipation of additional measures being implemented after the Fourth of July holiday.

Governor Inslee also announced statewide face covering requirements for businesses and halted county advancements to the next phase in the Safe Start plan. Importantly, if businesses do not comply with the state-wide face covering order, they may not serve any customers.

Lastly, Governor Inslee also extended 23 proclamations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic until August 1:

  • 20-15.5: Waives/suspends statutes relating to in-person DOL eye examinations and renewals of drivers licenses. (original)
  • 20-20.5: Waives/suspends laws and rules relating to tax penalties, fees, interest, and due dates in order to provide tax relief through the Department of Revenue. (original)
  • 20-21.5: Waives/suspends statues/rules relating to a one-week waiting period to collect unemployment insurance. (original)
  • 20-23.6: Waives/suspends laws relating to operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through UTC. (original)
  • 20-26.5: Waives/suspends late penalties for tax payments for breweries/beer distributors and wine buyers on request from LCB. Prohibits LCB enforcement of the suspended provisions. (original)
  • 20-27.3: Waives/suspends the effective date of SB 5641 (enacted 2019), which set Oct. 1, 2020, as the effective date to allow for electronic remote notary services. (original)
  • 20-29.5: Waives/suspends effective date of telemedicine parity bill passed in the 2020 legislative session, requiring parity between telemedicine visits and in-person doctor visits. (original)
  • 20-30.5: Waives/suspends statutory job search requirements for applicants seeking unemployment insurance. (original)
  • 20-31.5: Waives/suspends statutory fingerprint background check requirements for child care providers licensed by DCYF. (original)
  • 20-32.5: Waives/suspends DOH statutory/regulatory requirements for health care workers to obtain ongoing continuing education/training to be licensed. (original)
  • 20-37.5: Waives/Suspends laws/rules relating to registered nursing assistants training in nursing home facilities, allowing them to more easily begin working before being officially licensed. (original)
  • 20-38.5: Waives/Suspends laws/rules that will allow DSHS to more easily register and license long-term care facilities. (original)
  • 20-41.6: Waives/Suspends statutory deadlines for renewal of personal and commercial driver licenses, essentially extending the period in which people can renew their licenses. (original)
  • 20-43.4: Suspends/Waives requirements relating to paying employees by mail, shared leave and telecommuting options for certain state employees, and waives accrued vacation time carryover limits. (original)
  • 20-44.4: Suspends/Waives requirements so as to allow nursing homes to transfer/discharge residents to other long-term care facilities, even in cases in which a resident has appealed that transfer/discharge. (original)
  • 20-45.4: Relating to protection orders and personal service. (original)
  • 20-48.4: Waives certain statutory barriers for renewing or extending commercial driver licenses and commercial learner permits to align with federal statutes waived by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This allows commercial truckers to keep supply chains fully stocked. (original)
  • 20-49.6: Protects CARES Act stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments. (original)
  • 20-51.5: Waives/Suspends certain laws relating to the operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). (original)
  • 20-52.4: Formally extends the statutory waivers initially included in Proclamations 20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17 and 20-18, which were extended together for administrative efficiency. (original)
  • 20-56.2: Waives/Suspends all the provisions in any agreements between the Governor and the Indian Tribes restricting the use of fuel tax refund monies to highway- or transportation-related purposes. (original)

Governor Inslee also issued Proclamation 20-28.6, extending the suspension of certain requirements under the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act until July 7, and Proclamation 20-33.7, extending an order relating to Department of Child, Youth, and Families visitation and remedial services.

July 1, 2020:

On June 30, Governor Inslee amended Proclamation 20-05 to waive and suspend specified statutes that prevent, hinder or delay necessary action by requiring annual updates to Transportation Improvement Plans by July 1 of each year. The Governor also asked for a further extension of Proclamation 20-56.1 which waived and suspended all the provisions in any agreements between the Governor and the Indian Tribes restricting the use of fuel tax refund monies to highway- or transportation-related purposes.

Governor Inslee also announced a distribution of nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts across Washington. The money distributed will help with funding for rent assistance, tribal recovery efforts, small businesses and nonprofits.

June 29, 2020:

On June 27, Governor Inslee and Secretary Wiesman announced that the Washington State Department of Health will put a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 though the “Safe Start” phased approach. This development is in response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the state.

On June 25, Governor Inslee sent a memo to local government officials explaining the state's Safe Start Reopening Guide. The memo clarifies the guide and focuses on a data and science driven plan to rebuild the state’s economy.

June 25, 2020:

On June 24, the presidents of Washington colleges and universities, along with Governor Inslee, unveiled guidance for reopening in-person instruction at higher education institutions this fall. This announcement came with a proclamation providing specific health guidance for four-year public and private institutions, as well as two-year community and technical colleges, apprenticeships and private career schools. This health guidance includes requirements for masks, limits on class size, symptom monitoring, personal protective equipment availability and approval from local health districts. These requirements are merely additional ones to be considered in tandem with those already in effect.

June 24, 2020:

On June 23, Governor Inslee and Secretary of Health Wiesman announced a statewide mandatory face covering order that will take effect Friday, June 26. The order will require all Washingtonians to wear a facial covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces.

June 23, 2020:

On June 22, Governor Inslee announced a one-time extension for state executive branch organizations to submit their Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s COOP plans, which were originally due on June 30, are now due on September 1, 2020.

June 22, 2020:

On June 19, Governor Inslee signed three new proclamations (20-58, 20-59, and 20-41.5). Proclamation 20-58, which expires on July 19, waives/suspends the statute that requires shared work benefits to be paid by employers. Proclamation 20-59, which also expires on July 19, allows dental hygiene and pharmacy graduates to obtain a temporary license if certain conditions are met. Lastly, Proclamation 20-41.5 suspends in-person attestation for instructional permits from the DOL until July 1.

Governor Inslee also announced additional clarification for religious/faith-based organizations, as well as guidance relating to non-religious weddings, and non-religious funeral/memorial services.

On June 18, Governor Inslee announced—and the state legislature approved—the extension of 23 proclamations in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • 20-15.4: Relating to the Department of Licensing (extending 20-15.3)
  • 20-20.4: Regarding certain relief granted by the Department of Revenue from Penalties, Fees, Interest, Due Dates (extending 20-20.3)
  • 20-21.4: Relating to the one week waiver for unemployment (extending 20-21.3)
  • 20-23.5: Relating to ratepayer assistance and preservation of essential services (extending 20-23.4)
  • 20-26.4: Regarding the certain requirements relating to the Liquor and Cannabis Board (extending 20-26.3)
  • 20-27.4: Waiving/suspending the effective date of SB 5641 (enacted 2019), which set Oct. 1, 2020, as the effective date to allow for electronic remote notary services (extending 20-27.3)
  • 20-28.5: Relating to open public meetings and public records (extending 20-28.4)
  • 20-29.4: Relating to telemedicine and health care parity (extending 20-29.3)
  • 20-30.4: Regarding the job search requirement for unemployment benefits (extending 20-30.3)
  • 20-31.4: Regarding Division of Child, Youth, and Families child care and background checks (extending 20-31.3)
  • 20-32.4: Relating to healthcare worker licensing requirement waivers (extending 20-32.3)
  • 20-33.6: Relating to Department of Child, Youth, and Families visitation and remedial services (extending 20-33.5)
  • 20-34.4: Waiving financial report filing deadlines with the State Auditor’s Office (extending 20-34.3)
  • 20-37.4: Waiving/suspending laws/rules relating to registered nursing assistants training in nursing home facilities, allowing them to more easily begin working before being officially licensed (extending 20-37.3)
  • 20-38.4: Waiving/suspending laws/rules that will allow DSHS to more easily register and license long-term care facilities (extending 20-38.3)
  • 20-39.4: Waiving/suspending post-retirement statutory work limitations for experienced public employees to return to work or postpone retirement if they are in essential jobs (extending 20-39.3)
  • 20-41.4: Waiving/suspending statutory deadlines for renewal of personal and commercial driver licenses, essentially extending the period in which people can renew their licenses (extending 20-41.3)
  • 20-43.3: Relating to annual leave and pay procedures for state employees (extending 20-43.2)
  • 20-44.3: Authorizing a nursing home to transfer or discharge residents to another long-term care facility (extending 20-44.2)
  • 20-48.3: Waiving/suspending certain statutory barriers for renewing or extending commercial driver licenses and commercial learner permits to align with federal statutes waived by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (extending 20-48.2)
  • 20-49.5: Protecting CARES Act stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments (extending 20-49.4)
  • 20-51.3: Waiving/suspending certain laws relating to the operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) (extending 20-51.2)
  • 20-52.3: Formally extending the statutory waivers initially included in Proclamations 20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17 and 20-18, which were extended together for administrative efficiency (extending 20-52.2)

June 18, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced updated health guidance for religious and faith-based services today as more counties move forward under Washington’s Safe Start recovery plan. Phase 3 would permit indoor capacity of 50% or 400 people, whichever is less. Health requirements for social distancing and facial coverings will remain the same as the guidance for previous phases. For services taking place in modified Phase 1 and Phase 2 counties, indoor services at 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. In health guidance for services taking place in Phase 1 counties, only outdoor services are permitted, with no more than 100 attendees.

June 17, 2020:

Governor Inslee extended Proclamation 20-45, relating to protection orders and personal service, until July 1. The original proclamation provided flexibility and relief to courts by removing certain statutory hearing deadlines and service of process requirements as it relates to protection orders, including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, extreme risk and other similar orders, to ensure access to justice for victims.

June 16, 2020:

Governor Inslee extended Proclamation 20-22, which waives restrictions on truck driver hour of service rules, until July 14, 2020.

June 15, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued guidance for casino card rooms and other related businesses (memo and requirements) in Phase 2. The guidance includes industry specific requirements relating to social distancing, floor plan configuration, temperature screening, and hand sanitizer.

June 11, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued guidance for domestic services, such as nannies and housecleaners, in Phase 2 (memo and requirements) and expanded guidance for certain recreational activities, like golf, miniature golf, pools, and gymnasiums (modified memo and requirements).

June 10, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced Proclamation 20-46.1 was extended until August 1, 2020. The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections, including:

  • The choice of an alternative work assignment, including telework, alternative or remote work locations if feasible, and social distancing measures.
  • The ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insurance benefits while high risk employees are off the job.
  • Employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.

June 5, 2020:

Governor Inslee released a template for businesses in Phase 3 of the “Safe Start” plan. Each business or entity operating in Phase 3 must develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement or may develop its own safety plan. Businesses are still required to follow their industry-specific guidance as well.

Governor Inslee also released Phases 2 and 3 guidance (memo and requirements) for sporting activities, including professional sporting activities, youth team sports and adult recreational team sports.

June 3, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-19.2 extending the proclamation placing a moratorium on evictions. The prior eviction moratorium is now extended until August 1. Several modifications were added to the prior proclamation relating to:

  • Prohibiting retaliation against any tenant who invokes rights or protections under the proclamation;
  • Permitting eviction based on property damage, except for damage that is not urgent in nature, including conditions that were known or knowable to the landlord prior to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Establishing a defense to any lawsuit for tenants if a landlord fails to offer a reasonable repayment plan;
  • Establishing a minimum of a 14-day length of stay at a hotel, motel or at other non-traditional dwelling situations in order to trigger the application of this proclamation to those dwelling situations; and
  • Allowing owners to evict tenants if the owner plans to occupy or sell the property, after providing at least 60 days’ notice; and
  • Exempting commercial property rent increases that were executed in a rental agreement prior to the date the state of emergency was declared, on February 29.

Governor Inslee also issued Phase 1 and Phase 2 guidance under the “Safe Start” plan for libraries, drive-in theatres, and the agricultural industry.

June 2, 2020:

Governor Inslee released guidance for essential workforce education programs in Phase 1 and Phase 2. Essential workforce education programs are those included on the list of approved programs.

June 1, 2020:

The Stay Home, Stay Healthy order expired at 11:59 pm on May 31, 2020. Governor Inslee announced the state will transition to the Safe Start — Washington’s Phased Reopening. Effective June 1, counties may send an application to the secretary of Washington State Department of Health to advance to the next phase. Applications will be evaluated by a county’s ability to meet target metrics and will be considered holistically in their readiness and ability to respond. Under the plan, the secretary may approve a county’s request to move completely to the next phase or may only approve certain activities in the next phase.

Earlier, Governor Inslee announced that 23 proclamations, which were set to expire on May 31, 2020, would be extended to June 17, 2020. The proclamations that were extended are:

  • 20-15.3: Waives/suspends statutes relating to in-person DOL eye examinations and renewals of drivers licenses. (original)
  • 20-20.3: Waives/suspends laws and rules relating to tax penalties, fees, interest, and due dates in order to provide tax relief through the Department of Revenue. (original)
  • 20-21.3: Waives/suspends statues/rules relating to a one-week waiting period to collect unemployment insurance. (original)
  • 20-23.4: Waives/suspends laws relating to operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through UTC. (original)
  • 20-26.3: Waives/suspends late penalties for tax payments for breweries/beer distributors and wine buyers on request from LCB. Prohibits LCB enforcement of the suspended provisions. (original)
  • 20-27.3: Waives/suspends the effective date of SB 5641 (enacted 2019), which set Oct. 1, 2020, as the effective date to allow for electronic remote notary services. (original)
  • 20-28.4: Waives/suspends aspects of the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act that require/allow in-person business transactions. (original)
  • 20-29.3: Waives/suspends effective date of telemedicine parity bill passed in the 2020 legislative session, requiring parity between telemedicine visits and in-person doctor visits. (original)
  • 20-30.3: Waives/suspends statutory job search requirements for applicants seeking unemployment insurance. (original)
  • 20-31.3: Waives/suspends statutory fingerprint background check requirements for child care providers licensed by DCYF. (original)
  • 20-32.3: Waives/suspends DOH statutory/regulatory requirements for health care workers to obtain ongoing continuing education/training to be licensed. (original)
  • 20-33.5: Waives/suspends DCYF statutory/regulatory requirements that DCYF facilitate in-person visits for foster children with family/caseworkers and provide remedial services (family visits), for children in DCYF custody. (original)
  • 20-34.3: Waives/suspends deadlines for local governments to file required annual financial reports with the State Auditor’s Office. (original)
  • 20-37.3: Waives/Suspends laws/rules relating to registered nursing assistants training in nursing home facilities, allowing them to more easily begin working before being officially licensed. (original)
  • 20-38.3: Waives/Suspends laws/rules that will allow DSHS to more easily register and license long-term care facilities. (original)
  • 20-39.3: Waives/Suspends post-retirement statutory work limitations for experienced public employees to return to work or postpone retirement if they are in essential jobs. (original)
  • 20-41.3: Waives/Suspends statutory deadlines for renewal of personal and commercial driver licenses, essentially extending the period in which people can renew their licenses. (original)
  • 20-43.2: Suspends/Waives requirements relating to paying employees by mail, shared leave and telecommuting options for certain state employees, and waives accrued vacation time carryover limits. (original)
  • 20-44.2: Suspends/Waives requirements so as to allow nursing homes to transfer/discharge residents to other long-term care facilities, even in cases in which a resident has appealed that transfer/discharge. (original)
  • 20-48.2: Waives certain statutory barriers for renewing or extending commercial driver licenses and commercial learner permits to align with federal statutes waived by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This allows commercial truckers to keep supply chains fully stocked. (original)
  • 20-49.4: Protects CARES Act stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments. (original)
  • 20-51.2: Waives/Suspends certain laws relating to the operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). (original)
  • 20-52.2: Formally extends the statutory waivers initially included in Proclamations 20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17 and 20-18, which were extended together for administrative efficiency. (original)

May 28, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed a proclamation which waives and suspends any and all provisions in agreements between the governor of the State of Washington and an Indian Tribe or Tribes restricting the use of fuel tax refund monies to highway- or transportation-related purposes. The proclamation is effective immediately, and will expire at 11:59 PM on June 27, 2020.

Governor Inslee also released the state’s plan for religious and faith-based services under Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan. Beginning on May 27, 2020, Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. Those in Phase 2 may host indoor services at 25% capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, and hold in-home services with up to 5 people.

May 27, 2020:

Governor Inslee released an amended and extended Proclamation 20-49.3 to protect CARES Act stimulus payments and unemployment payments from bank account garnishments effective until May 31, 2020.

In addition, Governor Inslee released guidance clarifying outdoor recreation requirements in Phase 1 and Phase 2 (Memo and Clarifications for Phase 1 and Phase 2).

May 20, 2020:

Governor Inslee released Phase 2 guidance for real estate and fitness operations and announced new criteria for additional counties to apply for variances to move to Phase 2 of the Safe Start recovery plan. Smaller counties can apply for a variance from the order which would allow them to open more businesses than allowed statewide. Counties are eligible to apply if they have less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span.

In addition, Governor Inslee extended proclamation 20-33.2, which waives certain requirements relating to children in the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Family, until May 31.

May 19, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced the state’s plan to resume elective medical procedures by issuing a proclamation amending and extending Proclamation 20-05, which declared a state of emergency, and 20-24, which restricted non-urgent medical procedures. Under this plan, each health care or dental provider must meet certain criteria to be able to begin performing elective procedures. Each provider evaluates their readiness to begin and must maintain standards to continue to see patients.

May 17, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced the extension of five proclamations, including the following:

  • Proclamation 20-22.2, altering truck driver hour requirements, was extended until June 14.
  • Proclamation 20-48.1, relating to CDL licensing waivers, was extended until May 31.
  • Proclamation 20-49.1, involving garnishment and accrual of interest, was extended until May 21; and
  • Proclamation 20-51.1, relating to Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees, was extended until May 31.
  • Proclamation 20-45, strengthening emergency protection for domestic violence victims, was extend until June 15.

Governor Inslee also issued guidance for construction, golf and photography in Phase 2 effective for those counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, effective May 15.

May 15, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued guidance (Memo and Outdoor Recreation Guidance) clarifying Phase 1 outdoor recreation requirements and set forth outdoor recreation guidance for Phase 2. These guidelines build on the original outdoor recreation requirements released on April 27. For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, additional recreational activities may resume effective May 14.

May 14, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced the extension of three proclamations relating to COVID-19.

  • Proclamation 20-31.1, waiving certain administrative requirements to licensed child care providers and foster and adoptive parents and related programs administered by the Department of Child, Youth, and Families, was extended to May 31.
  • Proclamation 20-33.1, suspending certain statutes and regulations relating to foster care and group home systems was extended to May 18.
  • Proclamation 20-28.1, relating to open public meetings and prompt responses for public records requests under RCW 42.56.520(1) was extended to May 31, with the understanding that the waiver/suspension will not apply to 5-day response requirements under the statute for public records requests received by an agency electronically.

Governor Inslee also issued guidance for resuming personal service (Memo and Phase 2 Personal Services Requirements) and professional services (Memo and Phase 2 Professional Services Requirements) in the Safe Start Phase 2 recovery plan. Through the Safe Start approach, counties with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply for a variance to move to Phase 2 of “Safe Start” before other parts of the state. County variance applications will be approved or denied by the secretary of the Department of Health. For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, personal services may resume, effective May 13.

Personal services are cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tattoo artists, cosmetology schools, and esthetics schools.

Professional services are defined as an office-based occupation that typically serves a client base. This includes but is not limited to: accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other professional service occupations.

May 13, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced the extension of three proclamation relating to COVID-19.

  • Proclamation 20-31.1, waiving certain administrative requirements to license child care providers and foster and adoptive parents and related programs administered by the Department of Child, Youth, and Families, was extended to May 31.
  • Proclamation 20-33.1, suspending certain statutes and regulations relating to foster care and group home systems was extended to May 18.

Proclamation 20-28.1, relating to open public meetings and prompt responses for public records requests under RCW 42.56.520(1) was extended to May 31, with the understanding that the waiver/suspension will not apply to 5-day response requirements under the statute for public records requests received by an agency electronically.

May 12, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced the extension of nine proclamations as follows:

  • Extend the statutory waivers and suspensions relating to licensing of health care workers cited in Proclamation 20-36.1 until July 8, 2020
  • Extend the following statutory waivers and suspensions until May 31, 2020
    • Proclamations 20-37.1, temporarily waiving and suspending statutes and regulations requiring completion of nursing assistant training and testing to become certified nursing assistants within four months of nursing home employment;
    • Proclamations 20-38.1, waiving and suspending statutes and rules necessary to increase the availability of long-term care facility beds;
    • Proclamations 20-39.1, waiving and suspending statutes necessary to encourage retired public sector employees with critical skills for response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency to return to service;
    • Proclamations 20-41.1, waiving and suspending statutes necessary to reduce the risk of disease transmission to Department of Licensing employees and members of the public visiting its offices by temporarily extending the renewal date of personal and commercial driver licenses;
    • Proclamations 20-42.1, waiving and suspending statutory time limitations that if strictly applied may result in dismissal of DUI driver license suspensions;
    • Proclamations 20-43, involving annual leave and pay procedures for state employees;
    • Proclamations 20-44, authorizing a nursing home to transfer or discharge residents to another long-term care facility; and
    • Proclamations 20-52, extending orders relating to long-term care facilities.

May 10, 2020:

Governor Inslee released additional guidance relating to reopening businesses under Safe Start Phase 1. The guidance centers on essential businesses as well as elective surgeries, vehicle and vessel sales, car washes, in-progress residential construction, and other activities.

May 8, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced additional guidance relating to Safe Start Phase 1. The guidance documents released include:

(Seattle): Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the city will permanently close nearly 20 miles of Seattle streets to through traffic to provide more space for people to walk and bike while social distancing.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed a proclamation waiving statutes related to the funding process for certain collective bargaining agreements to enable the Office of Financial Management to use federal funding to address increased COVID-related costs for certain represented employees. Current law may require that funding not be provided until after the next legislative session; however, the increased costs and need for funding exists now.

May 6, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued guidance for vehicle and vessel sales, and drive-in religious services allowed under the Safe Start Phase 1 recovery plan laid out earlier this week. The regulations are designed to promote social distancing and sanitation. For example, religious services may now resume; however, only if all persons attending the service remain in their vehicles and those vehicles are occupied by members of that person’s household.

The Legislature also agreed to extend many of Governor Inslee’s proclamations as follows:

  • Proclamation 20-15.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation waives certain requirements for renewing drivers’ licenses and identification cards at Washington State DOL driver licensing offices.
  • Proclamation 20-20.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation suspends interest, fees, penalties, and due dates for several state tax filings.
  • Proclamation 20-21.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation waives the one-week waiting period to collect unemployment insurance.
  • Proclamation 20-23.2 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation relates to ratepayer assistance and preservation of essential services.
  • Proclamation 20-26.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation granting relief from certain statutes relating to liquor and cannabis.
  • Proclamation 20-27.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation relates to the electronic notary services provisions.
  • Proclamation 20-29.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation removes barriers to telemedicine and encourages health care providers to provide telemedicine services.
  • Proclamation 20-30.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation waives work search requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance.
  • Proclamation 20-32.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation waives requirements necessary for health care workers to remain licensed to practice in the state, including ongoing training and continuing education requirements.
  • Proclamation 20-34.1 was extended until May 31, 2020. The proclamation waives deadlines for local governments to file their required annual financial reports with the State Auditor’s Office.
  • Proclamation 20-28.1 are extended until May 31, 2020, except for RCW 42.56.520(i) which is only extended to May 11, 2020. The proclamation suspends certain statutory requirements in the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA).
  • Proclamation 20-33.1 was extended until May 11, 2020. The proclamation waives certain requirements relating to foster care and group home systems.

Governor Inslee also issued an emergency proclamation waiving/suspending the statutory requirement that candidates for public office must submit a filing fee petition with registered voters’ signatures if they cannot afford to pay the filing fee.

May 4, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed an order extending the original “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 31, 2020. He also released the state’s “Safe Start” plan, which is a phased approach to re-opening Washington’s economy.

May 1, 2020:

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order, which was set to expire May 4, 2020, and required health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for coronavirus (COVID-19). The extended order expires on June 3, 2020.

April 30, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced additional guidance relating to the existing order limiting non-urgent medical procedures. The guidance provides clarification on what type of procedures are permitted under the order and lays out guidelines for what PPE health care workers should have and how long they should use it.

April 29, 2020:

Governor Inslee released additional guidance and FAQs relating to his prior announcement on continuing construction projects that were previously underway. The guidance is an addendum to his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation.

“Authorized construction” now includes:

  • Construction previously authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and the Governor’s March 25, 2020, memo on construction.
  • Construction not previously authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and the March 25, 2020, memo that was in existence on March 23, 2020. For purposes of this memo, in existence means construction activity that is: (a) needed to fulfill an obligation under a contract effective prior to March 23, 2020, or (b) authorized by a government-issued permit obtained prior to March 23, 2020.

April 28, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced that, beginning on May 5, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions, including: fishing; hunting; playing golf; and day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas.

Governor Inslee also announced that nearly $300 million will be awarded from the state’s federal stimulus funding to local governments that did not receive direct distributions under the CARES Act.

April 27, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced that Colorado and Nevada agreed to join the Western States Pact with Washington, Oregon, and California. The states will work together with a shared vision for modifying stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.

April 26, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced a plan to allow construction projects previously underway to be completed if safe construction standards are implemented.

April 24, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced that he and the state Legislature agreed to extend many of the Governor’s orders in response to COVID-19.

Five proclamations (20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17 and 20-18) relating to long-term care were extended until the COVID-19 State of Emergency is terminated or May 9, 2020, whichever occurs first.

The Governor also announced the following proclamations were extended until the COVID-19 State of Emergency is terminated or May 4, 2020, whichever occurs first:

April 19, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed three proclamations:

  • Truck Driver Hours Extension: The original proclamation, which waived/suspended the restrictions on truck driver hours through April 17, was extended until May 15.
  • UTC Ratepayer Assistance Extension: The original proclamation, issued on March 18, waived and suspended certain laws relating to the operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), was extended to May 4. This new proclamation, which is retroactive to March 23, expands upon the prior proclamation to prohibit all energy, landline phone, and water providers in Washington from:

(1) disconnecting any residential customers due to nonpayment (except at the request of the customer);

(2) refusing to reconnect any residential customer who has been disconnected due to nonpayment; and

(3) charging fees for late repayment or reconnection of these services. The proclamation strongly encourages utilities to adopt flexible credit and billing practices and to work with customers to set up payment arrangements. The updated proclamation is effective through May 4.

  • Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees: This proclamation waives and suspends laws that create barriers to holding community association meetings remotely and also waives and suspends statutes that permit the imposition and collection of fees for late payment of community assessments.

April 17, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued a proclamation extending and expanding the original moratorium on evictions through June 4, 2020. Just as in the original order, the new order prevents landlords from evicting in all situations that fall within the Landlord Tenant Act, and prohibits law enforcement from assisting in any evictions.

Today’s proclamation also:

  • Prohibits landlords from increasing rents or deposits for residential and commercial units.
    • As it relates to commercial rental properties, this prohibition applies only if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by COVID-19, whether unable to work, whether the business itself was deemed non-essential, or whether the business otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • This proclamation protects commercial tenants by prohibiting rent increases or threats of rent increases.
    • This proclamation prohibits landlords from treating unpaid rent and charges as an enforceable debt, unless the landlord demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence to a court that the resident was offered, and refused or failed to comply with, a repayment plan that was reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident.
  • Prohibits residential evictions in other dwelling situations, including but not limited to:
    • Lots/parcels (some motor home owners own the vehicle but lease the lot)
    • Transitional housing
    • Public lands – camping grounds
  • Prohibits enforcement of agreements to vacate.
  • Prohibits a landlord from requiring a non-paying tenant to move to a lesser unit, and prevents landlords from threatening to take action against tenants.
  • Prohibits landlords from assessing or threatening to assess late fees or other charges for non-payment.
  • Prohibits landlord from assessing (or threatening to assess) rent for housing/parcel where the tenant’s access or use was prevented as a result of COVID-19. Such as:
    • Seasonal/college housing closed;
    • People who planned to move in but are prevented from doing so due to COVID-19;
    • People who were forced to leave due to COVID-19 needs of their own or others.

April 15, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued three proclamations:

  • A proclamation suspending the statutes of limitations for all crimes and waiving the 1-year limitation on raising post-conviction challenges in criminal convictions;
  • A proclamation waiving certain statutory barriers for renewing or extending commercial driver licenses and learner permits; and
  • A proclamation suspending statutes that permit the collection of consumer debt judgments, including bank account and wage garnishments and waiving the accrual of post-judgment interest on consumer debt judgments.

April 14, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced an agreement with California and Oregon on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19. In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional pact to recovery and may release additional guidance and orders.

Governor Inslee also issued a proclamation giving high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment status or loss of income. The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections, including:

  • The choice of an alternative work assignment, including telework, alternative or remote work locations if feasible, and social distancing measures.
  • The ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insurance benefits while high risk employees are off the job.
  • Employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.

April 13, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced an agreement with California and Oregon on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19. In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional pact to recovery and may release additional guidance and orders.

April 12, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced that he signed three proclamations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Nursing home transfers and discharges: The proclamation authorizes a nursing home to transfer or discharge residents to another long-term care facility, even in cases in which a resident has appealed that transfer or discharge
  • Protection orders and personal service: The proclamation provides flexibility and relief to courts by removing certain statutory hearing deadlines and service of process requirements as it relates to protection orders
  • Annual leave and pay procedures for state employees: The proclamation removes restrictions on the ability to pay employees by mail (eliminating, to the extent possible, employees’ need to go to the office to get their check).

April 8, 2020:

Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce announced additional steps to help mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 and help small businesses:

April 7, 2020:

Governor Inslee signed a proclamation extending school closures for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The order keeps both public and private schools closed in accordance with the governor's original order on March 13.

April 3, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced a month-long extension of his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" emergency order. The order, which banned all gatherings and temporarily shuttered non-essential businesses, will continue through May 4. Unless pursuing an essential activity, individuals must remain in their homes. The order also bans all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes and closes all non-essential businesses.

Governor Inslee also signed a proclamation delaying the implementation of new state building codes from July 1 to November 1 to provide adequate time for training and outreach that was interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

April 2, 2020:

Governor Inslee announced steps to assist homeowners who are unable to make mortgage payments. Guidance on these measures will be updated on the state’s Department of Financial Institutions webpage and will encourage companies servicing mortgages to work with homeowners and grant payment forbearance.

Updated guidance regarding the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, including guidance on essential employees and permissible recreational activities.

Governor Inslee also signed a proclamation waiving strict compliance with certain laws hindering experienced employees’ ability to return to essential jobs.

April 1, 2020:

On March 30, Governor Inslee announced guidance to state and local law enforcement on his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, including an online form to report businesses violating orders. He also issued four proclamations relating to:

  • Department of Corrections community custody violations,
  • Waiver of some health care facility regulations and waiver of regulations governing the manufacture and distribution of hand sanitizer,
  • Waiver of certain requirements for training to become a certified nursing assistant, and
  • Certain waivers of regulations that apply to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

March 27, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued four proclamations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, Proclamation 20-34 waives certain timing requirements until April 25 for local government financial reports. Second, Proclamation 20-33 suspends certain statutes and regulations relating to foster care and group home systems until April 25. Third, Proclamation 20-32 suspends until April 25 many licensing and procedural requirements for health care professionals to ensure the demand for healthcare staffing is met. Lastly, Proclamation 20-31 waives the strict compliance with multiple subsidized child care program statutes and regulations until April 25.

March 26, 2020:

On March 25, Governor Inslee signed a proclamation that provides payment parity between health care providers. Telemedicine claims must now be reimbursed at the same level of care delivered face-to-face. Telemedicine claims cannot be denied by insurance carriers. SB 5385, passed by the legislature would do the same thing, although its implementation date was not set until January 2021.

Governor Inslee also signed a proclamation that waives work search requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance. This allows the state to provide immediate assistance to those who have been financial impacted by COVID-19.

On March 24, Governor Inslee announced a series of administrative measures, including:

  • A proclamation waiving statutory requirements in the Open Public Meetings Act to prevent gatherings of people, and waiving the requirement in the Public Records Act to respond to or acknowledge requests within five days;
  • A proclamation authorizing new electronic notary services by speeding up the effective date of SB 5641; and
  • A proclamation waiving penalties for failure to remit timely tax payments to the Liquor and Cannabis Board until April 22. The waiver is made retroactive to the date of the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency on Feb. 29.

March 23, 2020:

Governor Inslee issued a proclamation ordering individuals to stay home and stay healthy. Unless pursuing an essential activity, individuals must remain in their homes for two weeks. The order bans all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes and closes all non-essential businesses.

March 22, 2020: 

President Trump approved Governor Inslee’s request to declare a federal major disaster in Washington and announced the activation of the federalized National Guard in Washington.

March 21, 2020: 

The Washington State Department of Health published guidelines on allocation of personal protective equipment (PPE). The fulfillment of PPE orders should be prioritized as follows:

  • First Tier Recipients: long-term care facilities, hospitals with the greatest number of confirmed cases, EMS and first responders asked to transport confirmed patients, and health-care workers supporting long-term care facilities with confirmed cases.
  • Second Tier Recipients: health care facilities with fewer confirmed cases, congregate locations with confirmed cases, other EMS services, and Department of Health-run isolation and quarantine facilities.
  • Third Tier Recipients: quarantine and isolation facilities run by other jurisdictions, skilled nursing facilities, other health care facilities, and outpatient facilities.
  • Fourth Tier Recipients: homeless shelters and other congregate locations, and family members of confirmed cases.

March 19, 2020: 

Governor Inslee issued a proclamation to restrict non-urgent medical and dental procedures to free up health care workers and protective equipment. The restrictions will not apply to emergency and urgent needs.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Washington’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Washington to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, extend fair hearing timelines, and waive public comment and tribal consultation requirements for certain changes to the Medicaid state plan.

March 18, 2020: 

Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-19 to place additional restrictions and bans on certain evictions until April 17, 2020. Residential landlords are prohibited from serving a notice of unlawful detainer for default payment of rent under RCW 59.12.030(3), may only issue a 20-day notice for unlawful detainer under RCW 59.12.030(2) in limited circumstances, and may not initiated a judicial action seeking a writ of restitution for failure to pay rent. In addition, local law enforcement is prohibited from acting on all eviction orders that are issued for default payment.

March 17, 2020: 

Governor Inslee signed five bills aimed at boosting the state’s response to COVID-19.

  • HB 2965 provides $200 million to state agencies, local governments and tribal governments who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • HB 1552 increases surge capacity in the state’s health care workforce by reducing credential delays for health care workers.
  • SB 6189 mitigates the effects of school closures for hourly employees of the state’s school districts. Hourly employees maintain health care eligibility provided by the schools.
  • HB 2739 expands shared leave programs for state employees. Under the changes to the shared leave program, employees who are forced to isolate or quarantine because of infection or exposure due to COVID-19 may use shared leave.
  • Governor Inslee signed an emergency proclamation further restricting access to long-term care facilities in the state. With some limited exceptions, no visitors are allowed into these facilities.

March 16, 2020: 

Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that mandates the immediate closure of all dine-in restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as additional limits on large gatherings, until March 31, 2020.

March 14, 2020: 

The Washington State Department of Health and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued a news release stating that state-regulated health plans must cover testing and lab fees related to COVID-19 without copays or deductibles and must suspend prior authorization requirements for treatments.

March 13, 2020: 

Governor Inslee signed a proclamation requiring that all public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship and similar programs are prohibited from conducting in-person classroom instruction and lectures.

March 12, 2020: 

Governor Inslee announced closures of all public and private K-12 schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties for the next six weeks.

March 11, 2020: 

Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that limits large events, those over 250 people, in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The order is effective until midnight on March, 31, 2020.

March 10, 2020: 

Governor Inslee issued new rules for nursing home and assisted living facilities. The rules center around visitors, screenings, and precautionary measures.

Governor Inslee also issued an emergency proclamation to expand state policies in support of workers and businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. The rules enhance the flexibility of the unemployment insurance program and help relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and quarantine by ensuring unemployment benefits are available to individuals whose employment has been impacted directly by COVID-19.

March 8, 2020: 

Governor Inslee issues Executive Order 2020-09 to allow emergency prescription refills and permit licensed pharmacists to administer COVID-19 testing.

March 5, 2020: 

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order for all state-regulated health plans to waive copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for testing. Insurers must also allow for a one-time early refill on prescription medications and suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19. If an insurer does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing and treatment for COVID-19, it must allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.

In addition, Governor Inslee announced that the state is taking steps to ensure workers’ compensation protections for health care workers and first responders who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. The expanded coverage takes effect immediately and covers eligible workers already under quarantine.

March 4, 2020: 

HB 2965 passes and provides a $100 million funding package to help state and local public health organizations mobilize to stop the spread of the disease. An amendment was added that ensures individuals can access unemployment benefits without meeting the work search requirements if they are under isolation or quarantine.

February 29, 2020: 

Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency, issued a proclamation directing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to do everything possible to assist affected communities, and called for a Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The Governor Inslee also mobilized the National Guard.

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