Washington Governor Jay Inslee has issued a ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He said more people staying home means fewer people getting and spreading the virus will save lives.
“It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight.” Inslee said during a press conference Monday evening. He added, “So, tonight, I am issuing a “Stay Home” order to fight this virus.” This is Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. This includes a ban on all gatherings, and closures of many businesses, unless those businesses are essential to the healthy functioning of our community, or are able to let employees work remotely from home.
This order is enforceable by law, but the legal penalties are not what should convince people to follow these orders. The real penalty may be the loss of a loved one to COVID-19. There are at least 110 Washington families this morning who can tell you how that feels.
Inslee added a plea not to binge-shop either, he said “For the sake of our neighbors, our health workers, our seniors and others: No one should make a run on the grocery stores to overstock. If each of us maintains our normal shopping habits, we will avoid the problem of empty shelves.
Hoquiam Police chief Jeff Meyers said in a press release last night that his staffing levels don’t include manning roadblocks or contacting people away from home, and that enforcement of this order is truly in your hands- not the police- because the actions you take are necessary to protect the vulnerable in our society; our friends, our neighbors and our family members who are at risk.
Myers also cited recent statements from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs including that they “are not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance. Rumors of strict law enforcement or “martial law” are not true.”
Myers added that local departments have established emergency staffing plans in case officers start needing sick leave.
The Grays Harbor Public Health and Social Services Department has opened a call center for COVID-19 questions. County residents can call non- medical personnel from 8:30am- 4:00pm Monday through Friday at (360) 964-1850.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners on Monday closed beach access roads in an effort to curb the amount of visitors flocking to the beaches.
The following roads will be closed beginning at 6 this morning and until further notice,
Second Street in Moclips, Analyde Gap Road South of Point Grenville, Damon Road in Oyhut, Second Avenue in Ocean City, Bonge Avenue, Cranberry Beach Road, Roosevelt Beach Road, and the Grayland Beach Road.
The city of Westport and Pacific County issued similar orders over the weekend, theirs also directed hotels and motels to limit vacation-related occupancy.
The City of Ocean Shores has enacted a curfew in a Tuesday executive order directing closures to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
The city of Aberdeen released the following Q&A this afternoon – including a link to the state’s information on the same topic:
1. What is COVID-19?
a. COVID-19 is a respiratory viral disease caused by the novel coronavirus; it has spread to all fifty states in the United States. Washington State has been particularly hard hit with nearly 2,000 confirmed cases resulting in 95 deaths statewide.
2. How many cases of COVID-19 are in our community?
a. There has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Grays Harbor County, and no deaths.
b. Washington State has a website dedicated to providing technical and health-related information about COVID-19 that is updated regularly. The website is: https://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/
3. What can I do to protect myself and my community?
a. Follow public health advisories to practice social distancing, respiratory etiquette, and frequent handwashing.
b. Be compassionate as people are reacting to this situation differently, and may need extra patience.
c. Obtain best available information and updates from CDC:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or Washington Department of Health: https://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/ or Grays Harbor Public Health:
4. Where does the City get its information to respond to COVID-19?
a. As a municipal government agency, the City is following all recommendations and orders from the Governor’s Office; and all recommendations from the CDC, State, and Local Public Health Agencies.
i. The City is also relying on the Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services department to provide timely updates and advice. Their website regarding coronavirus is regularly updated and is:
b. The City is actively participating on the Grays Harbor County Public Health Incident Management Team, which is organized under the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Plan. In this way, we are able to coordinate with other communities to ensure a unified response to this public health situation.
5. What is the City doing to protect public health during COVID-19?
a. In response to advice from federal, state, and local public health agencies, the City is
following social distancing protocols. This means that for the immediate future:
i. Public Meetings have been canceled or postponed,
ii. Adult sports leagues have been canceled,
iii. Youth sports leagues have been canceled,
iv. Events have been canceled, and
v. Events at the Rotary Log Pavilion have been canceled or postponed.
6. What is the City doing to protect City employees during COVID-19?
a. Following public health advice, each Department is implementing policies and procedures to protect the health of both staff and the public, while still providing necessary services.
b. This includes alternative work schedules and remote work options to maintain social distancing, while still providing services to the public.
c. City staff are following procedures for social distancing, limited face-to-face interactions, and frequent hand washing and disinfecting.
d. City Hall has been generally closed to most public interactions, except for the first floor which operates through security glass.
e. City staff are provided certain levels of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) based on the type of work they do. For example, our first responders working in the Police Department and Fire Department have the highest level of PPE available for their staff.
f. The health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance, and every effort is being made to ensure necessary PPE is available.
7. What is the City doing for individuals staying at the Temporary Alternative Shelter Location and other unsheltered or homeless people in Aberdeen?
a. The City is in discussions with Grays Harbor County Public Health and Social Services (“PHSS”) department regarding a state grant they received to address COVID-19 related impacts to that vulnerable population.
i. One outcome of those discussions is that a hot water hand-washing station is being obtained to place at the TASL. The City is working diligently to get the hand-washing station placed at the TASL.
b. PHSS provided general guidance from the CDC and State Department of Health, which the City has posted and handed out to each person registered at the TASL.
c. The City has provided hand sanitizers at the TASL, and is encouraging social distancing – including plans to re-arrange tents to obtain better social distancing.
d. To implement additional social distancing protocols, the City has closed the TASL to visitors through the April 27 date in consideration of the timing of Governor Inslee’s closure of all schools.
e. The City continues to consult with PHSS regarding public health protocols.