Governor bans large gatherings in greater Seattle area

Governor strengthens Washington-Italy relations

SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a ban on public gatherings and events of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Inslee’s proclamation also requires “social distancing” at smaller gatherings in the three counties, which include the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, home to almost four million people.

During a press conference Wednesday, Inslee said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence about the decision and that the federal government has been open to Washington state’s suggestions. Pence is expected to issue consistent guidelines in the coming days.

The prohibition is set to continue through March, but Inslee said it could be extended. The order extends to sporting events, church gatherings and other highly-attended events.

Inslee also addressed that the state is working with school districts to begin contingency planning should there be forced closures in the coming days.

The state has at least 24 COVID-19 deaths and more than 260 confirmed cases.

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Posted by 4 News Now on Wednesday, March 11, 2020