Stay-Home order may last longer than May 4, Inslee says

Testing capability is still limited; vaccine may determine when businesses can reopen

Governor+Jay+Inslee+announced+a+stay+at+home+order+for+Washington+citizens+on+March+23.

COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay at home order for Washington citizens on March 23.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Though the spread of COVID-19 is declining in Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a speech Tuesday night that officials do not know what the process of lifting restrictions will look like yet.

There are many restrictions that cannot end by May 4, the day when the stay-at-home order is supposed to be lifted, he said. 

“We are going to have to steel ourselves against this virus for quite some time,” Inslee said.

Lifting the restrictions will happen more like turning a dial instead of flipping a switch, Inslee said. Removing all of them at once now or in two weeks would cause the decline of positive cases to stop.

Inslee said he hopes to allow more elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and construction work in coming weeks. 

A lack of testing kits nationally has disrupted the state government’s plan for widespread testing. Inslee said 20,000 to 30,000 tests should be done per day but the state is currently limited to about 4,000 per day. 

Until a vaccine for the virus is developed, workplaces will look different, he said. This means there will still be social distancing, teleconferencing when possible and increased cleaning measures. 

Inslee said he appointed three leadership groups to advise his office on future measures regarding COVID-19.