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Contact:          Kelsey Nyland, 

Mayor Durkan Issues Statement on Governor Inslee’s New Statewide Restrictions as COVID-19 Cases Surge

SEATTLE (November 16, 2020) – Governor Jay Inslee announced new statewide restrictions on social gatherings and businesses. During the first two weeks of November, Seattle had more than 1,600 residents diagnosed with the virus, which is nearly 20% of Seattle’s total cases since March 2020. The Seattle case count per 100,000 residents is more than five times higher than what it was at the end of the summer, rising from 40.8 cases per 100,000 residents to over 232 cases per 100,000 residents. The number of people in Seattle currently in the hospital with COVID-19 has increased quickly over the past week and is the highest since April 2020.

You can see a summary of some of the new restrictions below.

Unless otherwise noted, the below restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14.


New Guidance

Indoor Social Gatherings

Gathering with people from outside your household is prohibited unless people outside your household have quarantined for 14 days or quarantined for 7 days and tested negative for COVID-19.

In-store Retail/Malls

Limited to 25% indoor capacity and must close any common/congregate non-food related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.

Long-term Care Facilities

Visitors only in outdoor settings, with limited exceptions for end-of-life care and essential support personnel.


Closed for indoor service.

Outdoor Social Gatherings

Should be limited to no more than 5 people from outside your household. 

Personal Services

Limited to 25% indoor capacity.

Professional Services

Required to mandate that employees work from home when possible, and to close offices to the public. If they remain open, occupancy is restricted to 25% indoor capacity.

Religious Services

Limited to 25% indoor capacity or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Soloists are permitted to perform. Facial coverings must be worn at all times by congregation members, and no congregational singing.

Restaurants and Bars

Closed for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size limited to 5 for outdoor dining. These restaurant restrictions go into effect on Wednesday, November 18, 12:01 a.m.


Recommended quarantine for 14 days upon return from out-of-state travel.

Weddings and Funerals

Receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.

Youth and Adult Sports

Limited to outdoor only for intra-team practices, masks required for athletes.

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan issued this statement following the governor’s announcement.

“Governor Inslee and public health officials had to act to address the significant and dangerous increase in cases and hospitalizations. While Seattle has one of the lowest rates of cases of any major city, we are not immune to the virus surging in the nation, state, and region. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have impacted so many small businesses and workers. People are hurting. These actions will have a particularly profound impact on our small businesses as we head into what normally would be a busy holiday shopping season,” said Mayor Durkan.

“This year’s holiday season will be hard as we cannot gather with our loved ones the way we normally would. But celebrating at a distance is how we keep everyone safe. We are at a crucial point in the pandemic and our actions will shape our ability to return to a more normal life in the months to come. Everyone who lives and works in Seattle must mask up, avoid gatherings - especially all indoor gatherings, and follow all public health guidance,” concluded Mayor Durkan.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the City of Seattle has worked quickly to launch COVID-19 relief programs including rent relief, expanding shelter for people experiencing homelessness, grocery vouchers for working families, direct cash assistance for immigrants and refugees, and financial assistance to small businesses. Residents and businesses can find a list of existing COVID-19 relief resources and policies on this website.

The City’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) has updated its Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance to better serve workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers and businesses can find the updated COVID-19 PSST policy here.

The City has several existing resources to help small businesses stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) has provided 469 small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 with $10,000 grants. OED is accepting applications through November 30, 2020 for $4 million in new Small Business Stabilization Grants.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Fire Department (SFD) also have a variety of options for business owners seeking to expand their operations outdoors, including curbside pickup, free street use and block closure permits, and free tent and heating permits. SDOT’s free street use permits for businesses are available through October 31, 2021. Businesses interested in learning more and applying can visit this website.

The City of Seattle continues to offer free COVID-19 testing across Seattle through a partnership with King County and UW Medicine. Drive-through and walk-up testing is available, but residents must first register online. The Seattle Fire Department currently operates four free testing sites in Seattle, and as of November 15, 2020 the SFD sites have conducted over 350,000 tests. Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19 get tested right away. Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear is important to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community. Residents can sign up for a test here.

The City asks residents to please sign up for Alert Seattle, which is an important way to get emergency alerts and notifications from the City.

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