Gov. Inslee, law enforcement announce measures to enforce WA stay-at-home order
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee, along with Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state police chiefs, announced steps that will be taken by local law enforcement should people or businesses be found violating the recent Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.
Inslee said the focus will remain on education throughout the tenure of the order, which he reiterated could be extended. He cited “disturbing news” from local counties that have seen increases in positive cases.
In Skagit County, 21 percent of tests have come back positive. There is a 19 percent positivity rate in Adams County. Inslee said those numbers are two to three times higher than in the week or two before.
Inslee said he would like to tell people when the state will defeat the virus and return to normal, but added that the data keep changing.
In the meantime, he said it is important for people and businesses to comply with the order to save lives. Those found out of compliance could face penalties.
Law enforcement will enforce the following protocol should they deem it necessary:
- First warning: Order to stop and comply
- Second warning: Take action with citation, suspension of permits, revoking of business licenses
- Refer case to Attorney General’s office for civil or criminal charges
Ferguson said he does not want to have to use his power and press charges, but will if he has to. He said he is looking for 100 percent compliance because lives depend on it.
“It’s our last resort to arrest people,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “It’s the last thing we want to do.”
Those who see businesses out of compliance can submit complaints online at www.coronavirus.wa.gov.