November 2020 Coronavirus Updates You Need To Know
November 19, 2020
It’s been a while since we’ve shared updated coronavirus news. As Thanksgiving approaches and the cold sets in, it’s a good time to revisit what we can and cannot do right now. More importantly, Governor Inslee released new guidelines since our last update, and they directly impact the way many of us are looking at the upcoming holidays.
A look at the numbers
If you take a look at graphs of recent numbers, you’ll see that Washington has experienced a massive increase in coronavirus cases since the summer. This does not come as a huge surprise, considering many were taking advantage of the warm weather to congregate outside and stay safe while visiting friends. Now, the warm weather is gone and meeting outside is much less practical.
Right before summer ended, around the middle of September, daily cases were consistently under 1,000. In fact, most days we saw fewer than 500 daily cases.
As of the week of November 16th, daily cases exceeded 3,000. That’s a significant increase we can’t ignore. With the numbers so high and the holidays approaching, it’s no surprise Governor Jay Inslee released new guidelines recently.
Let’s take a look:
Coronavirus guidelines in Washington as of 11/16
In response to growing daily cases and the upcoming holidays, which typically see large gatherings of families and friends, Washington has new lockdown orders to combat the spread of COVID-19.
As of November 16th (though some took effect days later), here are the new rules:
- No indoor visits with anyone outside your household. Because the risk of indoor transmission is much higher than outdoor, it is now against the guidelines to meet anyone indoors if they do not live with you. There is one exception to this rule. If visitors quarantine for 14 days prior to the social gathering, or quarantine for 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test at least 48 hours prior to the visit, you can gather indoors.
- Outdoor gatherings with up to five people are permitted. If you want to visit with people outside of your household, your best bet is to keep it outside with no more than five people.
- Restaurants and bars are limited to to-go orders or outdoor dining. If you want to dine outdoors, your group must contain no more than five people at a table. Indoor dining is no longer allowed at this time.
- Retail and grocery store capacity is reduced to 25%. While retail establishments and grocery stores may keep their doors open right now, they must limit their capacity significantly. According to the most recent guidelines, these establishments must stick to 25% capacity.
- Other indoor services and establishments must close. These include movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, and museums. Additionally, gyms and fitness facilities that operate indoors must close.
- Wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited again. Small ceremonies with no more than 30 people are permitted.
- Personal services must operate at 25% capacity. This includes barbershops and nail salons, which were previously permitted to operate at 50% capacity.
- Religious services maintain similar guidelines as before. Up to 200 people may congregate indoors, or up to 25% of regular occupancy, whichever is lower. Additionally, singing is banned because the act has been connected to superspreader events.
- Youth sports have new rules again. Games against other teams are banned. Athletes must also wear masks while participating.
- College and pro sports may continue. This is with the understanding that professional and college teams have more testing protocols to mitigate risks.
Cannabis establishments, like our Spokane dispensary, Bellingham pot shop, and pullman weed store, will all remain open. These retail establishments must stay at 25% occupancy, though.
What about Thanksgiving and the holidays?
Before announcing concrete restrictions, Governor Inslee made an appearance to urge Washingtonians to rethink their holiday season. Specifically, as Thanksgiving approaches, Inslee and his wife urged citizens to stay home and spend Thanksgiving within respective households.
Unfortunately, this means many Washingtonians will need to change their Thanksgiving plans. The good news, according to Inslee, is that Thanksgiving 2021 will be the best ever. That is, once the coronavirus is under control.
Of course, if your loved ones all agreed to quarantine for two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, you may have a sense of normalcy this holiday season. It’s also possible for everyone to quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test at least 48 hours prior to meeting up.
This is not practical for most families. With this in mind, Thanksgiving is probably going to look a lot different this year. Many are making the sacrifice to stay home in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Everyone has different family dynamics. If missing out on Thanksgiving with your loved ones is bumming you out, you’re not alone. Try to make the most of the new holiday experience if you can. Start by connecting with loved ones from a distance.
How long will these guidelines last?
Currently, the new restrictions are set to last four weeks. But if there’s anything we’ve learned throughout this pandemic, it’s that guidelines are subject to change. It is entirely possible that these restrictions will extend once we reach four weeks from their announcement.
Governor Jay Inslee has stated that he thinks most people will follow these guidelines voluntarily. The guidelines will not be enforced and the state is relying on others to do their part in lowering the numbers and preventing the hospitals from getting overrun.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” said Inslee last week. “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease.”
As the holidays approach and we adjust to these new restrictions, remember to take care of yourself. It’s a difficult time for everyone, and we all have unique circumstances to navigate.
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