Coming together to stay apart – social distancing and daily life

  • Fri Mar 20th, 2020 3:09pm
  • News

Submitted by the Washington State Department of Health

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today an emergency proclamation that mandates the immediate two-week closure of all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as additional limits on large gatherings. The new orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will be in place through March 31.

If it has started to seem like social distancing might be a major inconvenience, well, yes, it is. It’s a huge disruption. But social distancing interventions are absolutely necessary now to slow the spread of COVID-19. Every one of us must do our part to slow the spread of this virus right now. This protects us and our loved ones who are at high risk for severe disease.

Let’s talk about what social distancing means for our daily lives.

It generally means we stay out of places where people gather: Places like movie theaters, religious gatherings, public transportation, group fitness classes, coffee shops.

We all need to stay at home as much as possible. And when it isn’t possible, we need to work together to stay at least 6 feet away from each other.

Many people cannot work from home. If it is at all reasonable for you to do your work at home, please do. Every day.

The schools are closed to keep the kids away from each other so that they do not spread germs to one another and to the community. We need to keep them away from each other. Please do not arrange large playdates, sleepovers, or parties. Take your children to parks and enjoy the outdoors. Take lots of walks outside, but get used to saying, no, sorry, you can’t come pet the dog.

Use a grocery delivery service to reduce the number of times you need to go to the grocery store. If you do need to physically go to the store, try to go at odd hours when they won’t be busy, and be sure to wash your hands before and after your trip.

Stopping a pandemic in its tracks calls for cooperation, patience, hand washing and, yes, isolation. We can do it.

And all the while we are working to stay physically apart from one another, think about what you can do to maintain connections with your friends and neighbors. Drop off a great book on a neighbor’s porch with a little note. Call a friend to check-in. Help your kids draw a picture or a card to mail to a relative. Stay connected, from a distance of at least 6 feet.

Get and spread reliable information on COVID-19

This blog update is current as of the day it is posted, but information changes rapidly. Please check our website for the most up-to-date info on Washington’s response to COVID-19 at

Fight stigma, public panic, and misinformation by getting your information from trusted sources. Listen to guidance from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and your local health department.