Gov. Jay Inslee takes a phone call just before speaking about a stay-home order during a televised address from his office Monday in Olympia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Gov. Jay Inslee takes a phone call just before speaking about a stay-home order during a televised address from his office Monday in Olympia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Governor says he could extend the two-week stay-home order

Resuming normal living too soon could enable the virus to “spring back up on us,” Jay Inslee said Thursday.

With businesses shuttering and unemployment claims spiking, Gov. Jay Inslee shared what he called “a glimmer of hope” in the state’s fight against the new coronavirus.

New data show a slight decrease in the curve of new cases per day in Washington, and some hospital beds and supplies are on the way, Inslee said during a news conference Thursday in Olympia. The state still needs more testing, hospital capacity, supplies and health care workers, Inslee said, and he might have to extend the governor’s two-week stay-at-home order. A proclamation which took effect Wednesday closed all businesses deemed non-essential and banned public and private gatherings, from weddings and funerals to sleepovers and pick-up basketball.

“We shouldn’t be within 10,000 miles from champagne corks with this,” Inslee said. “We simply cannot allow this virus to be slowed and then spring back up on us. We’ve got to pound it, and pound it until it is done.”

As of Thursday, 3,207 people had tested positive for the virus statewide, including 149 who had died. In Snohomish County, there were 816 cases and 18 deaths. Many of those who have died were senior citizens, but younger people with no underlying health conditions can get seriously ill, too.

When it comes to how law enforcement will police the order, agencies across the state and in Snohomish County agree: This is a time to educate.

“The Everett Police Department will not actively seek out individuals failing to comply with the orders solely to charge them with a crime,” Chief Dan Templeman said in a statement Wednesday. “We recognize that people need to go to the doctor, the pharmacy, the grocery store and perform other essential activities. When our officers encounter someone failing to comply with the orders, we will remind them, as appropriate, of the restrictions.”

Templeman’s comments fall in line with statements from the Washington State Patrol, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and other local police departments. If law enforcement officers encounter people violating Inslee’s proclamation, officers and deputies will ask them to disperse.

So far, residents have complied with the order, Inslee said. The governor has not asked law enforcement to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance.

But that could change.

Inslee’s chief of staff, David Postman, told reporters Monday he doesn’t doubt “for a second” that Inslee will ask authorities to enforce the order.

A violation could be charged as a gross misdemeanor. According to state law, those are punishable by up to 364 days in a county jail or a $5,000 fine.

Currently, the goal is to educate people, not to make arrests, said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste earlier this week.

Dog walkers at Grand Avenue Park on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Dog walkers at Grand Avenue Park on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

At the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, deputies haven’t encountered any problems with people violating the order, spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe said.

Across the county, some residents have been dialing 911 to ask how the order affects them.

Emergency dispatchers saw an increase in calls after Gov. Inslee announced his proclamation Monday, Snohomish County 911 operations manager Hattie Schweitzer said. Most people are calling 911 to ask general questions about what’s allowed under the new rules.

Dispatchers are still getting several calls a day from the public asking general coronavirus questions, she said, which could cause problems for people trying to report emergencies.

“What we’d like to see is a reduction of the calls that could be referred elsewhere,” she said.

On Thursday, Inslee said concerned Washingtonians should visit www.coronavirus.wa.gov for information.

Everett residents can report concerns about others to police through cv19violations@everettwa.gov.

Leading up to the governor’s stay-home order, some Snohomish County cities made similar proclamations.

In Edmonds, the city council on Sunday expanded Mayor Mike Nelson’s authority during a declared emergency so he could issue a stay-at-home order Sunday night, before Inslee’s.

One provision of the emergency powers gives Nelson the right to prohibit citizens from openly carrying or possessing firearms or similar weapons. Nelson has not made such an order.

The mayor’s new authority drew the ire of anti-tax activist and gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman and gun-rights activists.

The city received nearly 300 emails, many from outside the city and state, calling on the mayor and city council to remove that section from the emergency powers ordinance, city spokeswoman Jamie Holter said.

Originally, the city council was to discuss and revise the expansion of powers Tuesday. That didn’t happen, which frustrated some council members, who were told they could make amendments during the meeting.

They’ll have the chance to do that Friday, during a special council meeting called by Nelson, who will ask members to remove the gun provision.

“It was getting in the way of doing the city’s work,” Holter said.

Eyman went to the Edmonds City Council chambers Tuesday night to tell city leaders he opposed that section of the emergency ordinance.

But the dais was empty. City council meetings are now held online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, public comment now is only allowed via email, whereas previously people could go to the podium and share their thoughts with council members in person.

Eyman and a group of gun-rights activists started to chant “Let us speak” when they were told live public comment wasn’t allowed.

The disruption caused Mayor Nelson to ask Police Chief James Lawless to send officers to monitor the situation.

Eyman and his associates were standing close together and near City Clerk Scott Passey, violating social distancing recommendations, police spokesman Josh McClure said.

Officers ordered them to leave the chambers because of the disruption, McClure said.

The Friday council meeting to possibly remove the gun portion of the emergency powers ordinance is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be streamed on the city’s website, www.edmondswa.gov.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Freeland massage therapist charged with sex crimes

The judge set bail at $7,500 for the health care provider, who was accused of sexually assaulting two clients last year.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

State Trooper Isaiah Oliver speaks to a BNSF worker at mile marker 31.7 as road closures and evacuations mount in response to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
As wildfires creep west of Cascades, county plans for next Bolt Creek

Wildfires are an increasing concern in Snohomish County. A new project aims to develop a better plan.

Everett High seniors, from left, Avery Thompson, Lanie Thompson, Melissa Rosales-Alfaro and Saron Mulugeta sit together in front of their school on Monday, May 20, 2024, in Everett, Washington. The group have called to question their district’s policy that does not permit graduates to decorate their mortarboards or graduation clothing. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After student campaign, Everett schools allows custom graduation caps

“It’s a really good first step,” the Everett High School ASB president said. But the students still want relaxed rules for future classes.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

People fill the board room for public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Struggling Marysville schools dropped from insurance pool

In an unprecedented move, the board of the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool voted to drop the district by August.

A cyclist heads along Federal Avenue past a bike route sign near 46th Street SE on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Bike sign project marks lanes, distances for Everett cyclists

Around the city, crews are putting up over 200 signs, geared toward helping bicyclists find their way around.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.