As of today, Wednesday, March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee has issued an emergency proclamation prohibiting public events of 250 people or more in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Inslee and local government officials gathered to announce the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In attendance were King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin, among representative from Pierce County, Snohomish County, and the Washington State Department of Health.

“This is an unprecedented public health situation and we can’t wait until we’re in the middle of it to slow it down,” Inslee said. “We’ve got to get ahead of the curve. One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives.”

Along with the ban on public events, Inslee encouraged Washingtonians to practice social distancing, proper hygiene and sanitation techniques, and implement telecommuting as much as possible.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the prevention measures in King County will be taken a step further.

“Gatherings smaller than that should not happen unless very clear public health recommended steps are taken,” he said. “Therefore, our public health officer Jeff Duchin will be signing an order that prohibits smaller events of 250 people or less unless they meet public health guidelines to ensure social distancing, adequate sanitation, regular health checks of employees, and other measures designed to prevent the virus from being transmitted.”

King County has been hit the hardest by the virus so far, and Constantine reiterated that we must do everything we can to protect the community.

“To be sure, ordering the cancellation of community events is an extraordinary measure, one made in a fluid situation in which new information comes to light hourly,” he said. He continued, “Temporarily banning social and recreational gatherings that bring people together will help ensure that a health crisis does not become a humanitarian disaster.”

To review the proclamation in full, visit this website. For more information about COVID-19 in King County, visit the Health Department’s website.