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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Governor's Proclamations and State Guidance

This page lists selected coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency proclamations issued by Governor Inslee that are relevant to government agencies in Washington State, statewide face mask orders, and additional guidance documents from the Attorney General's Office and other state agencies.

It is part of MRSC's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Local Governments series.

Note: These proclamations and resources have been selected by MRSC to address the most common issues faced by local governments during the COVID-19 crisis. For the complete list of Gov. Inslee's proclamations, see the governor's Proclamations page. You can also access additional information regarding the state's response at coronavirus.wa.gov and the governor's news releases.

Latest Updates

To help you keep track of the rapidly changing situation related to COVID-19, here is a summary of recent changes to this page:

Friday, July 31

  • The state legislative leadership and Proclamation 20-28.8 have extended the existing Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA) provisions through 11:59 PM on September 1 with no further changes.
  • Proclamation 20-23.7 extends the prohibition on residential utility shutoffs through 11:59 PM on October 15 and adds a new provision prohibiting utilities from disconnecting service to any residential customer who has requested assistance from the utility's COVID-19 Customer Support Program.
  • Proclamation 20-64 prohibits public agencies, including local governments, from releasing the personally identifying and contact information gathered by COVID-19 contact tracers or in customer/visitor/employee logs in response to a public records request. This prohibition does not apply to the name or location of a business or entity that is part of a contact tracing investigation. The proclamation expires August 29 at 11:59 PM.

Wednesday, July 29

  • Proclamation 20-46.2 extends the existing employment protections for high-risk workers for the duration of the statewide emergency, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded. Includes new memorandum clarifying the scope of the order and when an employer may require an employee to submit verification from a medical provider.

Monday, July 27

  • Proclamation 20-25.7 extends and amends the "Safe Start, Stay Healthy" order. This proclamation is effective July 24 until the governor declares that the state of emergency has ended, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded, and it incorporates the updated facial covering order issued by the Secretary of Health.
  • The Secretary of Health's Order 20-03.1 expands the statewide facial covering order to require people to wear facial coverings that cover the nose and mouth when they are outside their "dwelling unit," subject to specific exceptions.

Governor’s Emergency Authority

The governor has the authority to issue emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220, which has several different subsections.

The governor has sole authority to issue and extend emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220(1), which includes “[s]uch other activities as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.” For instance, the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order (Proclamation 20-25) and its subsequent extensions and amendments were issued under RCW 43.06.220(1).

The governor also has the authority to issue emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220(2), which includes waiving or suspending statutory obligations or limitations. However, these proclamations are limited to 30 days and can only be extended beyond 30 days by concurrent resolution of the legislature, or by the legislative leadership (majority and minority leaders of both houses) if the legislature is not in session.

An emergency proclamation issued under both subsections may require action from both the governor and the legislature (or its leadership) to extend all provisions of the proclamation beyond 30 days. If the legislature does not agree, the portion of the declaration issued under RCW 43.06.220(2) expires after 30 days while the portion issued under RCW 43.06.220(1) remains in effect until terminated by the governor.


"Safe Start, Stay Healthy" Order and Phased Re-Opening

Governor's Office

Department of Labor & Industries

  • WAC 296-800-14035 (amended July 2) – Emergency rule; employers must not allow employees to perform work where a business activity is prohibited by an emergency proclamation and must comply with all conditions for operation required by emergency proclamation, including Safe Start phased reopening requirements for all business and any industry-specific requirements. Expires October 30, 2020.

Facial Coverings/Face Masks

Governor's Office

  • Face Masks or Cloth Face Covering – Provides many resources related to the statewide facial covering requirements for residents and businesses; includes FAQs, enforcement signage for businesses, and other useful resources.
  • Overview of COVID-19 Statewide Face Covering Requirements (July 20) – Overview of facial covering requirements, including best practices for business owners to enforce the rules in the event a customer does not wear a mask.
  • Proclamation 20-25.4 (May 31) – Effective June 8, all employees must wear a facial covering except when working alone or when the job has no in-person interaction, and employers must provide cloth facial coverings to employees (unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection).
    • Proclamation 20-60 (June 24) – Imposes stricter facial covering requirements for Yakima County only, effective June 26
    • Proclamation 20-25.6 (July 7) – Extends Yakima County facial covering provisions statewide. Customers may not enter a business without a facial covering (with exceptions outlined in Order 20-03); businesses may not operate unless customers are in compliance with facial covering requirements; and employers must notify the local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading within the workplace or is aware of two or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.
    • Proclamation 20-25.7 (July 24) – Incorporates the updated facial covering requirements from the Secretary of Health's Order 20-03.1; proclamation is effective until the governor terminates the state of emergency or amendes or rescinds the proclamation.

Department of Health

  • Order 20-03 (June 24) – Statewide order requiring people to wear face coverings inside any building that is open to the public, in healthcare settings, in transit and for-hire vehicle settings, and in outdoor public areas when a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members. Order effective June 26.
    • Order 20-03.1 (July 24) – Expanding the statewide facial covering requirement effective July 25 to require all people to wear a facial covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are outside their "dwelling unit," subject to specific exceptions.
  • Cloth Face Coverings – Information and resources related to cloth face masks.

Department of Labor & Industries


Public Health Data & Resources

Department of Health


Employee Leave, Benefits, and Unemployment

Governor's Office

  • Proclamation 20-46 (April 13) – Providing employment protections to high-risk public and private employees through June 12. Addresses alternative work arrangements, leave options, health insurance protections, and other issues. Also prohibits employers from applying or enforcing any employment contract provisions that contradict or interfere with these provisions.
    • Proclamation 20-46.1 (June 9) – Extending employment protections for high-risk workers through August 1.
    • Proclamation 20-46.2 (July 29) – Extending employment protections for high-risk workers for the duration of the statewide emergency, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded. Includes new memorandum clarifying the scope of the order and when an employer may require an employee to submit verification from a medical provider.

Employment Security Department

  • COVID-19 Information – Includes separate Q&As for workers and employers, FAQs on the federal CARES Act stimulus legislation, email alerts, links to ESD emergency rules and rulemaking documents, and more.
  • COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits Available – Helpful chart showing which leave scenarios are covered by paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, paid family and medical leave, and industrial insurance
  • Unemployment Benefits Fraud – Information on how employers and employees can report fraudulent unemployment claims

Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA)

Governor's Office

Attorney General's Office

  • Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) General Guidance Regarding Coronavirus (March 6) – Issued prior to Proclamation 20-28; reflects the normal Open Public Meetings Act requirements.
    • "First Update" Supplemental Guidance (March 26) – Amends initial March 6 guidance to reflect OPMA suspensions and prohibitions in Proclamation 20-28.
    • “Second Update” Guidance (April 24) – No changes except for extending the March 26 guidance to May 4 to reflect Proclamation 20-28.1.
    • “Third Update” Guidance (May 6) – No changes except for extending the March 26 OPMA guidance to May 31 and extending the Public Records Act five-day response provision to May 11, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.2.
    • “Fourth Update” Guidance (May 14) – One minor change extending the Public Records Act five-day response provision to May 31, except for records requests received electronically which now must be responded to within five business days, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.3.
    • "Fifth Update" Guidance (June 1) – Extending the March 26 OPMA guidance to June 17 and updating the provisions regarding taking "action" at meetings, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.4.
    • "Sixth Update" Guidance (June 19) – No changes except for extending the guidance to July 1 to reflect Proclamation 20-28.5.

Public Records Act (PRA)

Governor's Office

State Archives

  • Managing COVID-19 Pandemic Records – Provides information on retention of records related to the agency's response to COVID-19, as well as COVID-19 health screening records for employees and visitors.

Financial Reporting and CARES Act Reimbursement

Governor's Office

State Auditor's Office

Department of Commerce


Utilities

Governor's Office

  • Proclamation 20-23 (March 18) and Proclamation 20-23.1 (March 24) – Strongly encouraging utilities to take reasonable actions to mitigate economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility customers.
  • Proclamation 20-23.2 (April 17) – Through May 4, prohibits all energy, water, and telecommunications providers from (1) disconnecting residential service due to nonpayment, (2) refusing to reconnect residential customers who were disconnected due to nonpayment, and (3) charging late fees or reconnection fees.
    • Proclamation 20-23.3 (May 5) – Extends prohibitions through May 31.
    • Proclamation 20-23.4 (May 29) – Extends prohibitions through July 28 and requires all utilities providing energy, telecommunications, and water services to develop and prominently post COVID-19 Customer Support Programs by July 10.
    • Proclamation 20-23.5 (June 18) – No changes to utility shutoff, late fee, or COVID-19 Customer Support Program requirements, which continue through July 28, but recognizes the legislative leadership's extension of the utility statutory waivers and suspensions through July 1.
    • Proclamation 20-23.6 (July 2) – Extends utility prohibitions through August 1, extends deadline for utilities to review and post COVID-19 Customer Support Programs to August 1, and provides new COVID-19 Utility Customer Support Program Guidance Document.
    • Proclamation 20-23.7 (July 31) – Extends utility prohibitions through 11:59 PM on October 15; adds new provision prohibiting utilities from disconnecting service to any residential customer who has requested assistance from the utility's COVID-19 Customer Support Program.

Gift of Public Funds

Attorney General's Office


Eviction Moratoriums and Tenant Protections

Governor's Office

  • Proclamation 20-19 (March 18) – Statewide moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent, effective until April 17.
    • Proclamation 20-19.1 (April 16) – Extending and expanding the residential eviction restrictions until June 4; also prohibits rent increases or threats to increase rent for residential tenants and for commercial tenants who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 
    • Proclamation 20-19.2 (June 2) – Extending restrictions until August 1.
    • Proclamation 20-19.3 (July 24) – Extending restrictions until October 15.

Planning

Governor's Office

  • Proclamation 20-40 (April 2) – Delaying the effective date of State Building Code amendments from July 1, 2020 to November 1, 2020.
  • Proclamation 20-61 (June 30) – Suspending requirement for cities and towns to update their transportation improvement programs (TIPs) by July 1. This requirement was suspended through July 30 and was not renewed.

Information Technology and Telecommuting

WaTech


Last Modified: July 31, 2020