On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order, a proclamation that functions as part of the State of Washington’s efforts to prevent the further spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the state. The Order will last for two weeks, beginning March 25, 2020 and lasting until April 8, 2020 (although it may be extended, depending on transmission rates). Under the terms of this proclamation, the following is required:
- Every Washington resident will be required to stay home, unless they need to pursue an essential activity (more information on exceptions and essential services is detailed below).
- All gatherings apart from “essential activities” are temporarily banned. This includes most social, spiritual, and other community gatherings.
- All non-essential businesses are to be temporarily closed.
The Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order builds on previous state orders that have been issued to combat the spread of COVID-19. Although it effectively closes most businesses and events, the Order and related advisory documents do provide exceptions and additional guidance that should be reviewed carefully by business owners. Below, we have compiled some of the most important considerations to take into account, when determining a plan of action.
Does your business qualify as “essential”?
If it’s not clear whether your business qualifies as an “essential business”, please contact the state or your attorney right away; they can provide expert guidance in this determination. Furthermore, even if your business is not currently considered “essential”, businesses who offer otherwise vital services to the community can submit a request for special designation as an “essential business.”
What should you know if your business is covered by the “essential business” exceptions?
If your business falls into one of the “essential business” categories, consider contacting your attorney for guidance on how best to continue operating under these conditions, and to comply with ongoing regulations for businesses that continue to operate. Legal counsel can provide specific recommendations, including preparation of a letter for your employees to use while they are outside of their home or business (traveling by car, bus, bike, on foot, etc.) that verifies their purpose for being outside or working during this time. We can also help draft internal communications for distribution to your employees, relating to continued operations under this order.
What should you know if your business is considered “non-essential”?
Legal counsel can also provide specific recommendations for non-essential businesses, including continuing limited operations, implementing remote work policies, temporary closures, and walking employees through any temporary business changes.
Contact Possinger Law Group
For purposes of this current order, Possinger Law Group is considered an “essential business” and all of our staff continue to work remotely. Our firm is here and ready to help you navigate these uncharted waters and this unprecedented business environment. Contact your Possinger Law Group attorney directly, or call us at 206-512-8030 for assistance.