As of today, Wednesday, March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee has issued an emergency proclamation prohibiting public events of 250 people or more in Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Inslee and local government officials gathered to announce the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In attendance were Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, among representative from King County, Snohomish County, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Public Health Department.
“This is an unprecedented public health situation and we can’t wait until we’re in the middle of it to slow it down,” Inslee said. “We’ve got to get ahead of the curve. One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives.”
Along with the ban on public events, Inslee encouraged Washingtonians to practice social distancing, proper hygiene and sanitation techniques, and implement telecommuting as much as possible.
Pierce County Executive Dammeier spoke to the impact on Pierce County so far.
“I’m thankful that youth have an immune system that seems to combat the virus,” he said. “But I am increasingly concerned about the seniors in our community, about young women who are pregnant, and about the folks with compromised immune systems. We need to be taking significant actions to protect them, because we know that they are very vulnerable to this disease. That’s why I’m supporting these actions today in Pierce County.”
Dammeier went on to describe the consequences of the proclamation, noting they were not implemented without consideration. He said this time of year is typically the season for nonprofit fundraiser events, which will face cancellation resulting in possible underfunding. Dammeier encouraged members of the community to support local nonprofit organizations if they are able. He also explained that faith activities for larger congregations will have to suspend services, but encouraged telecommunication options to maintain community without the risk of physically sharing spaces.
“This is a time when we need to re-double efforts to care for our loved ones, our friends, and our neighbors. But I know we’re going to get through this together,” Dammeier said.