Dayton Chronicle - Your Hometown News Source

COVID–19 restrictions


November 19, 2020

DAYTON–While restrictions are implemented, Columbia County basks in a "pocket" of lower COVID incidences.

Martha Lanman, Columbia County Public Health Administrator, reported to the Board of Columbia County Commissioners (BOCC) there were two additional cases of COVID–19 over the weekend. All but two of the previous 25 in-county cases have recovered. There has been an additional death reported over the last week, according to the daily updates on the website.

Lanman said even though Columbia County numbers remain low, numbers in surrounding counties continue to climb. "Our numbers are good," Lanman said. "I feel like we here are sitting in kind of a pocket. We have done a good job. The school has been open this long and that's great! So, our community has done a great job, we have got to follow the requirements of the state – this is a statewide thing and go from there."

According to Lanman, school will remain in session because school offers a controlled environment for the kids and she and the Dayton School District want to keep kids in school.

Because, in some parts of the state, COVID-19 cases are rising, new across-the-board restrictions were placed on the state by Gov. Jay Inslee to minimize occupancy in restaurants, retail stores, gatherings and Thanksgiving celebrations.

The BOCC attended a Zoom meeting to understand the new guidelines for the restrictions from November 18 to December 14. Inslee based his decision on infection rates rising too rapidly, plus increased hospitalization rates.

All of restrictions with the exception of restaurants and bars began midnight November 17. Restaurants followed at midnight the next day and are only allowed to offer take-out, curbside pick-up and delivery. Businesses and churches are allowed a 25% capacity, including for personal services such as salons. Offices must close to the public and employees must work from home, when possible.

An Inslee spokesman said of restaurant dining that it "is as dangerous as it gets. Restaurants and food accommodation are the number one non-healthcare related outbreak setting in Washington State by quite a bit. Peer reviewed studies show if you eat indoors in a restaurant, you're 50% more likely to get COVID."

Additional restrictions include a limited attendance of 30 people for weddings and funerals and no receptions are allowed. Long-term care facilities can only receive visitors outdoors. Sports practice must be outdoors and participants must wear masks. Gyms, movie theaters and museums are required to close. Real estate open houses are prohibited.

Court and judicial branch proceedings are allowed. Government services are separated from professional services. Government guidelines and any restrictions have not been given yet and the government entities are to continue to operate under current guidance. There is no change to Open Public Meeting Requirements.

No gatherings are allowed outside of one's household unless participants quarantine for 14 days prior or seven days prior with a negative COVID test within two days prior to the gathering. A travel advisory is also in place with the same guidelines as gatherings. Outdoor gatherings with five people outside of the household are allowed.

There will no change to the mode of enforcement.

The State Department of Labor and Industries will continue to handle infractions taking licensing and regulatory action. Education continues to be the first course of action.

The State plans to offer assistance and employment benefits from a $50 million grant.


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