All gatherings with more than 50 people will be prohibited in Washington state beginning Monday when Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign an emergency proclamation to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The order will not apply to restaurants, which will be able to provide take-out and delivery services, but in-person dining will be prohibited. Additionally, grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.
Other retail outlets will need to reduce their occupancy if they wish to stay open. This includes places like hardware stores, shopping centers, banks and gas stations.
All gatherings of less than 50 people will only be allowed if they meet public health criteria around cleaning and social distancing.
“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus,” Inslee said in a press release.
King County Executive Dow Constantine has also directed a countywide order that will become effective on Monday, March 16. It closes indoor activities at restaurants, bars, dance halls, clubs, theaters, health and fitness clubs and other similar indoor social or recreational venues until March 31.
The orders come after similar ones last week, which prohibited gathers larger than 250 people statewide. Several other municipalities across the U.S. have enacted similar measures as COVID-19 spreads.