Inslee is Extending the Stay at Home Order… Again

Jay Inslee is holding Washington Counties to impossible standards, why?

Julia Stander, Editor in Chief

King County’s most current stay-at-home order is due to end on May 31st, but the statistics for cases do not fit “Inslee’s criteria”, so it is very likely that he will extend it yet again. It seems as though Seattle will never get past phase one. 

About six weeks ago, the city of Seattle, as well as the state of Washington went under strict, stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Governor Jay Inslee is faced with the question whether or not to finally move into stage two, or extend the stay at home order, yet again. Seattleites are starting to get really antsy and everything has been closed for so long that some people have decided to completely ignore the stay at home order itself. Unfortunately, it does not look like Inslee will be lifting the order next week. 

Inslee said that reopening across the state will be determined by statistics, not dates. According to Inslee’s website, his criteria for moving on to phase two is less than 10 confirmed cases in two weeks for 100,000 people. For example, King County has 39 cases per 100,000 people in two weeks. This statistic puts King County ninth-worst on the list according to Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Times. This is seemingly impossible, it could take multiple months for King County to get down to these numbers. 

Obviously everyone is ready to get this behind them and move into stage 2. According to Inslee’s website, that means that restaurants will open with at less than 50% capacity, barbers/salons will open, and gatherings of 5 will be allowed. A pro would be that there would possibly be looser restrictions on important gatherings, like funerals and graduation (socially distanced of course). Another pro would be helping small businesses and the economy to get back to normal. According to Forbes, The Small Business Administration is overwhelmed with the demand for loans, so it is safe to say that businesses are running out of money- and fast. 

Not only have small businesses taken a hit, so have big corporate companies, such as JC Penney, Pier 1 Imports, and Modell’s Sporting Goods according to Aine Cain and Madeline Stone of Business Insider. 

“It would be economically infeasible for King County to continue the stay-at-home order,” says senior Zach Stone. “Unemployment and the shutting down of small businesses could really harm people.”

Inslee’s Twitter is already raging (@GovInslee), people replying to his most recent tweets asking “How will unemployment feel for YOU in November?” and “How are the poll numbers Jay?”. Citizens are not happy that the unemployment checks are delayed, meaning that some are going weeks without unemployment checks, according to Twitter. According to Jim Brunner and Paul Roberts of The Seattle Times, the checks are being held as an attempt to block an overflow of fraudulent claims. Some comments are bringing up how Washingtonians recently lost hundreds of millions of dollars to Nigerian scam artists, saying that that’s where all the money Washington needs went. Others comments are comparing him to a dictator and pleading him to let go of his political motivations. 

Is Inslee holding back counties for good reason? Is a second wave something that we should actually be scared of? Dr. Ian Lipkin in an interview with The Seattle Times says that the second wave would be intolerable. Other experts such as Oliver Shwartz, say it’s too early to tell how damaging the second wave will be. One of the worst aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is unpredictable, and all we can do is wait it out and try our best to do our part. No one knows when it’s going to end and how long it will be affecting us in the future. 

While the pandemic certainly is horrible and everyone wants it to end, those that reside in King County are probably far from phase two because of the impossible standards to which our Governor is holding us to. 

King County has the most confirmed cases in the state. The darker the red for the county, the more cases confirmed. King County is the darkest, with 7,835 cases confirmed. At 1,078 deaths for the entire state, King County had over half of them, at 552 deaths.