December 23, 2020
Inslee announces eviction moratorium extension
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he will extend the eviction moratorium to March 31, 2021. The current eviction moratorium was set to expire on December 31.
"COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on Washingtonians over the last nine months," Inslee said. "I know this moratorium has been critical for many families and individuals as they cope with the impacts of this virus. People need certainty about whether the moratorium will be extended, and it is important that I provide that certainty today while we work out the final details of the moratorium."
Additional details and a full announcement will come next week.
December 21, 2020
Proclamation 20-83: COVID-19 Prohibitions on Travel from Countries with 501Y.V Variant Circulation
Today Gov. Jay Inslee issued a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone returning to Washington state after visiting the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries where a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 501Y.V, has been circulating.
Health experts believe this new variant may be more transmissible than other variants. The order applies to anyone who has been present in these countries within the prior 14 days. An individual is permitted to leave quarantine to perform certain essential activities (for example, seek medical treatment), provided that they avoid public transportation and ride-share services, wear a facial covering, separate themselves from other people to the greatest extent reasonably possible, and follow other appropriate social distancing measures. All individuals who are impacted by this order are strongly encouraged to be tested within seven days of returning to Washington.
The full proclamation is available here.
Proclamation 20-25.10: Stay Safe, Stay Healthy
Gov. Inslee also updated Proclamation 20-25 and related guidance for houses of worship, weddings, and funerals. Currently, houses of worship are permitted to hold indoor services with up to 25% room capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.
The 200 person maximum attendance cap is being removed in response to the December 15, 2020 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, which struck down Nevada’s 50-person attendance caps, interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo to represent a ‘seismic shift in Free Exercise law.’
Because the Governor believes the attendance cap will help save lives, he is converting the required 200-person cap to a recommended cap. The Governor recognizes and respects that it is the role of the courts to say what the law is. The Governor does not intend to re-impose mandatory numerical caps specific to religious services unless the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court clarifies the state of the law. Other minor modifications are made to align the guidance documents and the proclamation related to music and singing.
The full proclamation is available here.
December 20, 2020
Inslee announces authorization of Moderna vaccine by Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
The announcement comes after the FDA and CDC granted their initial authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The Western States Workgroup, comprised of vaccine experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada, have been meeting to review the data and analysis to ensure the safety and efficacy of both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines federally authorized. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized last week and is already being administered throughout Washington state.
“I’m pleased that the Western States Workgroup gave their unanimous recommendation to the Moderna vaccine today and encourages immediate use of the vaccine in our states,” Inslee said. “Having two vaccines to combat COVID-19 will help us begin to recover from this destructive pandemic.”
Workgroup members hope that their independent review inspires confidence in Washingtonians around the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
The first of the Moderna vaccine doses are expected to start arriving from the federal government this week. The storage and handling of this vaccine is logistically easier and should help get the vaccine to all areas of the state.
“We still need to be extremely vigilant in taking care of each other until the vaccine is widely available, which will still be several months from now,” Inslee said. “We must continue masking, physical distancing and not gathering with friends and family, especially during this holiday season. Our disease activity remains high, and we must work together to keep each other safe.”