‘This isn’t about politics’: Gov. Inslee defends stay-home order amid Olympia protests

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Governor Jay Inslee responded to hundreds of protestors who gathered in Olympia on Sunday, eager to lift the state’s stay-at-home order. 

“I support free speech,” said Inslee. “But crowd counts or speeches won’t determine our course. This isn’t about politics. It can only be about doing what is best for the health of all Washingtonians.”

The crowd Inslee referred to gathered on the steps of the state Capitol, some of them holding signs that read, ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me COVID-19!’ 

READ: Protesters rally in Olympia against Washington stay-at-home order

“These are difficult and frustrating times. I understand the urgency of this crisis. However, this is not the time to halt the progress we have made,” Inslee said. 

Earlier this month, Inslee extended the state’s stay-home order through at least May 4, saying the rate of COVID-19 infection has plateaued but must drop before Washington can consider a gradual reopening. 

Inslee has also stressed the importance of the state’s need for rapid testing and continued contact tracing efforts.

READ: ‘We will not accept unnecessary deaths’: Gov. Inslee extends stay home order through May 4