Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay-at-home order during a Monday address. Businesses can ask the state for essential status to remain open.
Inslee's announcement followed a similar move by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown earlier in the day to reduce person-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at a 2019 event in Seattle.
"We want to get back to normal as soon as possible", Inslee said. "That is what we're doing".
As of Monday, the death toll in Washington state reached over 100, and the confirmed cases were tallied by the Washington State Department of Health at 2,221. Until recently, Washington led the nation with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.
"The rapid growth in the number of cases has really put our state in a race against time", Inslee said.
Also Sunday, Inslee named retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, who is now a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, as the director for the state's COVID-19 health care response team.
"It will ban ALL gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes". Inslee said people can also go outside for a walk or a run, as long as they maintain six feet of distance from everybody.
Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores and other businesses deemed essential will remain open.
All non-essential businesses including restaurants will be closed except for delivery and pick-up. Among them are emergency service workers, health care providers, journalists, court workers, transportation workers, critical manufacturers, and defense industries.
The definition of "essential" businesses includes a distinct West Coast flavor by including cannabis retailers, ferries and laundromats.
"We expect everyone in our state to comply with this order voluntarily", he said.
"While we minimize our physical connections it is essential we maximize our emotional connections", he said. "Distancing ourselves is the only weapon we can use".
Even so, the requirement that people stay home is likely to have a profound effect on daily lives. The order's prohibition on gatherings and leaving home unless necessary takes effect immediately.
"I am fully supportive of the Governor's decision to issue a "stay at home" order".
"I applaud Boeing's decision to implement an orderly shutdown and continue to pay its workers during this hard time", Inslee wrote.
Officials are also linking the second COVID-19 death in Whatcom County to the center, writing that the person in their 80s developed symptoms after being discharged earlier this month. Boeing's Renton plant was already idled as a result of the ongoing FAA grounding of the 737 Max airplane. Andy Billig, Sen. Mark Schoesler, Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins and Rep. JT Wilcox.
Inslee supported the company's actions in a Monday statement. "Instead, if our deputies see banned gatherings, we will take an educational approach and remind people of the current restrictions issued by the Governor".
Until now, state officials have largely leaned on what might be considered an honor system to uphold social distancing measures. According to CNN, 12 states representing 39 percent of the nation's population will have such an order in place by Wednesday.
Residents continue to receive care at the facility, with local governments working to make sure there is increased capacity for patients to be directly monitored.
"We have been thoughtful and deliberate in making these tough choices", Inslee's office said.