(The Center Square) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the state's residents to stay at home except for essential activities to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Residents can leave home to buy groceries, seek medical attention and go to a job deemed essential, Inslee said at a Monday night news conference. Residents also can go outside to exercise as long as they social distance, keeping at least six feet between themselves and others.
The governor ordered nonessential businesses to close.
“This is a human tragedy on a scale we cannot yet project,” Inslee said of the pandemic. “It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight.”
As of Monday, Washington had 2,221 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 110 deaths.
President Donald Trump issued a “major disaster” declaration for Washington state Sunday night.
The move was in response to a 74-page letter Inslee sent to the White House Friday requesting various forms of aide.
“We appreciate that the federal government has recognized the severity of the public health emergency,” Inslee said in a statement.
Trump also said the federal government would pay for the costs, rather than the states, of calling up the National Guard in the three states that have been hardest hit — New York, California and Washington.
Inslee previously said he is considering having National Guard troops deliver food to low-income students who qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches. All K-12 schools in the state are closed until at least April 24.
Boeing also announced it was closing its Seattle-area production facility for two weeks after a worker there died from the disease. The company said 29 other employees have tested positive.
Because of reduced travel, the Service Employees International Union said it expects hundreds of employees at the Sea-Tac Airport to be laid off. Most already have reduced hours.