Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and the ranking Republican on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, issued this statement today in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that he is ordering restrictions and shutdowns this week that affect Washington restaurants, bars, gyms, retail stores and all indoor gatherings. The restrictions will last at least four weeks.
“These restrictions will have a devastating effect on Washington workers and our state’s restaurant industry and many other businesses, and the timing, right before the holidays, is especially hard,” King said. “Many of our businesses have struggled to survive over the past several months because of the COVID pandemic and related restrictions imposed by Governor Inslee and other government officials. This next round of closures and restrictions likely will cause many more restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses to shut their doors for good.
“I understand why the governor is concerned. In fact, we all are. However, I have not seen or heard that our restaurants, bars, taverns, gyms or movie theaters are causing these COVID-19 increases. I believe these additional cases are from social gatherings with neighbors, relatives and friends. The businesses targeted by the governor’s latest order are not causing the case hike. All of them are doing everything they can to make sure their facilities are safe for customers and employees. Let’s not punish them any further.
“While we need to take steps to again slow down the spread of this virus in our state, we need to do it in a way that won’t hurt workers and destroy parts of our economy. Hundreds of businesses already have been forced to close permanently because of the pandemic and government-imposed restrictions. Washington can’t afford the loss of more local businesses.
“There needs to be a special session. The Legislature must be involved as we make these decisions on how to deal with this COVID crisis. We need the governor to work with the Legislature on solutions to ease the pain that these new restrictions will cause to a large part of our economy.”