Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order

On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued the Stay
Home, Stay Healthy Order
for all of Washington state. 

In brief, the Order does the following:

  • Stay At Home. 
    The Order requires all Washingtonians to stay home except to participate in essential
    or as required for their employment in essential
    business services
  • No Gatherings. 
    The Order prohibits all public and private gatherings for social, spiritual and
    recreational purposes (including weddings and funerals), regardless of the
    number of people involved. 
  • No Non-Essential Business Operations.  The Order requires all non-essential businesses in
    Washington to cease operations, except for performing basic minimum
    operations.  Any essential businesses that remain open must establish and
    implement appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures.

When do the prohibitions go into effect?

The requirement that Washingtonians stay home goes into
effect immediately and remains in effect through April 6, 2020, unless it is
extended beyond that date. 

The prohibition on all public and private gatherings goes
into effect immediately and remains in effect through April 6, 2020, unless it
is extended beyond that date.

The requirement for non-essential businesses to close and
essential businesses to implement social distancing and sanitation measures
goes into effect on March 25, 2020 and remains in effect through April 8, 2020,
unless it is extended beyond that date.

What are “essential activities”?

Essential activities include:

  • Obtaining necessary supplies and services for families and
    households (including pets).  This includes:

    • Groceries
    • Supplies and equipment needed to
      work from home
    • Products necessary to maintain
      safety and sanitation of the home
  • Seeking medical or behavioral health services, including
    medical supplies and prescriptions, for family members and pets
  • Caring for a family member, friend or pet in another home,
    and transporting a family member, friend, or pet for essential activities
  • Outdoor exercise activities, provided participants must
    practice appropriate social distancing

What is “employment in essential business

This means: (1) an essential employee performing work for an
essential business, or (2) carrying out the minimum basic operations of a
non-essential business. 

Are there any exceptions to the stay at home portion of
the Order?

Yes.  The order does not apply to individuals whose
homes are unsafe due to domestic violence, and the homeless. 

Are any businesses exempt from the Order?

Yes.  Essential businesses are exempt (provided they
establish and implement appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures),
as are businesses operating exclusively out of the home whose employees do not
engage in in-person contact with clients. 

What are the “minimum basic operations” of non-essential

This includes the minimum activities necessary to maintain
the value of the company’s inventory, preserve the condition of the company’s
physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee
benefits, facilitate employees of the business being able to continue working
remotely and related functions.

The Order does not prohibit individuals from working from
home, or restaurants and food services from providing delivery or take out

What are the penalties for noncompliance?

Violators may be subject to criminal penalties pursuant to RCW 43.06.220(5)

What businesses are considered “essential”?

The full list of essential critical infrastructure workers
is available here
The following is a summary of some of the business activities that are
considered “essential” and may continue business operations under the Order:

Healthcare and Public Health

The essential workforce includes:

  • Workers providing COVID-19 testing and doing research and
    development activities related to COVID-19
  • Health care providers and caregivers, specifically including:
    • Physicians
    • Dentists
    • Psychologists
    • Mid-level practitioners
    • Nurses and assistants
    • Infection control and quality
      assurance personnel
    • Pharmacists
    • Physical and occupational therapists
      and assistants
    • Midwives and doulas attending facility-based
      or home-based births
    • Alternative healthcare providers
    • Social workers
    • Speech pathologists
    • Diagnostic and therapeutic
      technicians and technologists
  • Hospital and laboratory personnel
  • Workers in other medical facilities
  • Behavioral health workers (including for mental and
    substance use disorders)
  • Blood and plasma donors and employees of blood banks
  • Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health
    information, if such workers cannot practically work remotely
  • Workers who conduct community-based public health functions
  • Workers who provide support to vulnerable populations
  • Workers performing security and emergency operations who
    cannot practically work remotely
  • Pharmacy employees
  • Workers performing mortuary services and those who handle
    and transport human remains
  • Workers supporting veterinary hospitals and clinics

Please see the complete list for more information. 

Emergency Services Sector

Workers in the emergency services sector that provide
prevention, preparedness, response and recovery services during both day-to-day
operations and incident response. 

This category also includes workers who support the
operation, inspection, and maintenance of public works, including:

  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and
    other service providers who provide safety for residences
  • Workers who support public works facilities, including
    bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction
    of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency
    location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems
    infrastructure, and other emergent issues
  • Support, such as road and line clearing, and residential and
    commercial waste removal

Please see the complete list for more information. 

Food and Agriculture

This includes grocery and pharmacy workers, restaurant carry
out and quick serve food operations, and food manufacture and agricultural
employees.  Please see the complete list for more information. 


Employees engaged in critical activities related to
electricity, oil and natural gas.  Please see the complete list for more

Water and Waste Water

This includes employees who work in the drinking water and
wastewater sectors.  Please see the complete list for more

Transportation and Logistics

This includes employees engaged in the following subsectors:

  • Aviation
  • Highways
  • Maritime transportation systems
  • Mass transit and passenger rail
  • Pipeline systems
  • Freight rail
  • Postal and shipping systems

Please see the complete list for more information.

Communications and Information Technology

Employees working with communication networks and in the IT
sector.  This includes support to help employees transition their work
activities to home offices.  Please see the complete list for more

Other Community-Based and Essential Operations

This category includes:

  • Critical government workers
  • The Courts
  • Security staff
  • Workers ensuring continuity of building functions
  • Childcare workers
  • Hotel workers
  • Construction workers who support the safety, sanitation and
    essential operations of construction sites and construction projects
  • Professional services, such as legal and accounting, to
    assist in compliance with legally mandated activities
  • Workers providing heating, cooling and refrigeration
  • Payroll service providers and other HR services
  • Laundromats

Please see the complete list for more information. 

Critical Manufacturing, Hazardous Materials, Chemical Sectors

These categories include workers in critical manufacturing
positions, and workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste
and pharmaceuticals, and workers at laboratories processing test kits. 
This also includes workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply
chains. Please see the complete list for more information. 

Financial Services

This includes workers in the banking and investment
industries.  Please see the complete list for more information. 

Defense Industrial Base

This includes all workers who support
the essential services of the federal government and the US military. 
Please see the complete list for more information. 

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