What Does the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order Mean for Businesses and Individuals?

March 25, 2020

Content adapted from the Washington State Joint Information Center

On March 23, Governor Inslee issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order that will last for a minimum of two weeks. The order requires everyone in Washington state to stay at home, except while performing the activities listed below.

Essential Activities

  • Shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.
  • Getting takeout food (including food deliveries).
  • Going to work at an essential business.
  • Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of 6 feet is maintained.
  • Understanding what it means to “stay at home.”

While the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order may seem strict, it is a crucial step needed to stop the rapid spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 can make people very sick with fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. More concerning, it can be life-threatening to older adults and people with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) has received calls from concerned citizens that some businesses did not comply with the previous social distancing order from the Governor. They may still be concerned about businesses following the new Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. We expect most businesses will comply with the Governor’s order if they are aware of their responsibilities.

Essential Businesses

To clear up confusion, essential businesses have been defined as businesses that fit under one of the following categories:

  • Healthcare/Public Health
  • Emergency Services
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Construction/Infrastructure

Businesses that provide essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least 6 feet for their employees. A detailed list of essential businesses for each category can be found on the coronavirus.wa.gov website as well as public assistance resources for businesses and individuals. If you have questions or concerns regarding the operation of a retail food establishment in Spokane County, please email foodsafetyprogram@srhd.org. Be sure to include the establishment’s name and location, in addition to your contact information, questions or concerns.

We understand the economic impact that this will have on many businesses and employees who don’t fall under the essential business category; however, we urge all businesses and members of the public to take this order seriously to protect the public’s health. Businesses that can operate using telework should do so. If a business believes that it provides essential services or functions, and is not on the list, than they can request designation as an essential business.

We will get through this crisis faster if we follow the state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you notice a business in Spokane County that should be closed to the public, but is not, you can file a complaint by emailing InlandBizCompliance@spokanecounty.org, or by calling 509.477.2684. Please include the name and location of the business as well as specific details about what you observed. We all need to hold ourselves, and others, accountable for complying with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order!