Last Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement about the 9/11 terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"My fellow Washingtonians, today marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in this country on September 11, 2001. As we remember this tragedy and honor our nation's resilience, this time is also an opportunity to strengthen our national consciousness and consider what we can keep doing to advance freedom.
"Twenty years is a long time, but all of us who lived through these events remember where we were that day. I was in our nation's capital, serving in Congress, where I saw the smoke rise from the Pentagon. No one could be sure at first what was happening or how it would end. I was fortunate to be led to a safe place that day while the chaos and uncertainty played out, but many others put themselves in harm's way to help others. The courageous passengers on United Flight 93 likely saved the U.S. Capitol building and prevented more loss of life. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices of first responders, our military and others for their rescue, recovery and security they provided our nation in the aftermath of these events.
Driven by delta, COVID cases in Washington continue to rise, mainly among the unvaccinated
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Washington is doubling every 18 to 19 days, state health officials said at a Department of Health briefing last week. More than 94 percent of COVID-19 patients hospitalized between February 1 and August 3 were not fully vaccinated, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.
Inslee on FDA approval of Pfizer COVID vaccine
Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement following the Food & Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the prevention of disease from COVID-19.
"The Food and Drug Administration's full authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a great milestone in our fight against this deadly pandemic. People who get vaccinated should be more confident than ever in the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine. It does not just save the lives of individuals; it can save entire communities from further devastation.
"More than half of American adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID, either through the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines," Inslee said.
Gov. Jay Inslee last Wednesday announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education, as well as an expansion of the statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. The governor was joined for the announcement by Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah.
K-12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. The requirement includes public, private and charter schools, and comes as schools across the state prepare to return for the 2021-2022 school year amid rapidly increasing case and hospitalization numbers. This does not impact students, regardless of age.
"It has been a long pandemic, and our students and teachers have borne their own unique burdens throughout," Inslee said. "This virus is increasingly impacting young people, and those under the age of 12 still can't get the vaccine for themselves. We won't gamble with the health of our children, our educators and school staff, nor the health of the communities they serve."
Inslee also announced a vaccine requirement for employees in Washington's higher education institutions, as well as for most childcare and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households. These individuals also have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated.
Inslee requiring vaccination
for most state employees,
health and long-term care workers
Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation mandating that most state executive branch employees and on-site contractors and volunteers, along with public and private health care and long-term care workers, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18.
Inslee announced the proclamation at a press conference in Seattle Monday afternoon. The announcement comes as Washington is experiencing a severe increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations in every county, due to the Delta variant, with the overwhelming majority of cases and hospitalizations being among unvaccinated Washingtonians. Individuals included in the proclamation's mandate must receive the final dose of their vaccination no later than October 4, so as to be fully vaccinated two weeks later on October 18 to comply with the proclamation.
Exemptions from the vaccine requirement are allowed for those individuals who are entitled to a disability-related reasonable accommodation or a sincerely held religious belief accommodation.
Inslee updates wildfire state of emergency proclamation
Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday updated the wildfire state of emergency proclamation. The changes were made to clarify that small fires contained in structures on public agency land may be authorized by the public agency landowner, unless otherwise prohibited.
The update also clarifies that the truck driver service hours exemption applies only to drivers who haul aviation fuels. All other service hour exemptions remain the same, including expiration dates.
Inslee Rescinds 2 Proclamations
Related to COVID-19 Pandemic
Gov. Jay Inslee last Wednesday rescinded one COVID-19 emergency proclamation and gave advance notice of the rescission of another emergency proclamation.
Proclamation 20-49: This proclamation prohibits garnishment of bank accounts for consumer debt in certain circumstances. The rescission is effective October 1, 2021.
Proclamation 20-84: This proclamation suspends the implementation date of the Uniform Guardianship Act as it relates to third party custody of minors, which was intended to go into effect on January 1, 2021. The implementation date was suspended at the request of the Superior Court Judges Association in order to prevent delays in finding permanent placements for affected minors. This rescission is effective immediately.
Inslee provides updates on public masking and masks in K-12 schools
Gov. Jay Inslee announced last Wednesday the state would maintain mandatory masking for K-12 students this fall. At a press conference in Olympia, Inslee also announced the state recommends Washingtonians wear masks in public indoor spaces in communities where there is substantial or high COVID spread, consistent with the latest CDC guidelines.
After months of decline in COVID activity, cases and hospitalizations are surging in Washington and around the country as states lift restrictions while the rate of vaccinations have slowed. According to the state Department of Health, 94 percent of COVID hospitalizations in Washington are currently among the unvaccinated.
At the same time, the more infectious delta variant of the virus is becoming the dominant strain around the country, including Washington state. COVID vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to prevent severe illness and infection from COVID.
Inslee "disappointed" about U.S.-Canada border closure
Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following statement last Wednesday regarding the federal government's recent announcement of continued U.S.-Canada border closure.
"I am extremely disappointed by the federal government's announcement today that the U.S. border with Canada will remain closed through at least August 21. This continued closure will result in continued hardship for Washingtonians living in border communities, including in Point Roberts.
Inslee issues emergency drought declaration,
proclamations tied to extreme heat, firefighting
Gov. Jay Inslee authorized the state Department of Ecology to issue an emergency drought declaration for most of the state last Wednesday.
A historically dry spring and summer, followed by a record-breaking heat wave, have affected water supplies across Washington. The only areas excluded from the emergency declaration are Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.
A drought emergency means water supply is projected to be below 75 percent of average, and there is a risk of undue hardship to water users and uses. A formal drought declaration authorizes Ecology to take certain measures for the purpose of providing emergency drought relief:
The governor also amended the state's partial burn ban to now also suspend the statutory truck driver hour limitations, to address the interruption in fuel distribution to firefighters.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency last Tuesday (July 9) relating to the growing risk of wildfires, including a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30.
"Washington is facing a historic drought and we have already experienced record-breaking heat," Inslee said. "We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires, and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them. We don't want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality. I urge everyone to do their part to help protect our beautiful state and all our communities."
"We have seen a record-breaking number of fires for this early in the summer," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "Extreme drought conditions leave communities across our state at risk as fire danger continues to climb. I'm asking everyone to do their part and take precautions to prevent wildfires. Our firefighters on the frontlines depend on us to help keep them safe."
Inslee issues housing stability "bridge" proclamation
Gov. Jay Inslee last Tuesday (July 29) issued a housing stability 'bridge' emergency order, proclamation 21-09, intended to bridge the operational gap between the eviction moratorium (expired at 11:59 PM June 30) enacted by prior proclamations and the protections and programs subsequently enacted by the Legislature. The bridge, which was initially announced last week, will also reduce uncertainty as the state implements post-COVID long-term housing recovery strategies contained in legislative enactments such as SB 5160.
"COVID has created a significant economic impact on our state and many Washingtonians are still experiencing financial hardships. This bridge creates reasonable steps that will help ensure that renters have the opportunity to receive support and resources available to them and that the Legislature intended to be in place to help both landlords and tenants," Inslee said.
Recent legislative actions include appropriating an additional $650 million for landlord and tenant rental assistance and also establishing certain programs, like the eviction resolution pilot program, which were intended to be in place after the eviction moratorium ends. However, the funding has not yet been disbursed and these programs are not yet operational statewide.
In response to this unintended gap, this order requires, among other things, that:
Inslee removes COVID-related capacity limits
Last Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee removed COVID-related capacity limits at publicly owned or operated, and non-profit cooling centers.
"Beginning today, and persisting well into next week, meteorologists predict that temperatures will rise rapidly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Consequently, Washingtonians will be at high to very high risk of heat-related effects. In response, many local governments are mobilizing "cooling centers" to protect people from the weather," Inslee said. "I want to ensure that local jurisdictions have flexibility in options that can provide relief from the heat."
The governor's emergency proclamations 20-05 and 20-25.13, "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery," remain in effect and have capacity limitations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This order allows capacity limitations to be adjusted or removed in order to provide the ability to serve more people at publicly owned or operated, and non-profit cooling centers.
Eligible cooling centers are those created, administered or designated by a non-profit, state or local government entity; e.g., a state agency, city, county or other political subdivision, or an entity incorporated under the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act or analogous law from another jurisdiction, to temporarily address the health effects of a heatwave.
The suspension of capacity limitations does not apply to private, for-profit businesses that offer air-conditioned spaces to the general public.
All other aspects of the governor's COVID restrictions remain in effect until Wednesday, June 30th or whenever 70 percent of the population initiates vaccination, whichever comes first.
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