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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: End of flu quarantine announced for New Year’s Day

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

The news everyone was waiting for finally arrived: The partial flu quarantine would be lifted on New Year’s Day.

After nearly three months of restrictions, theaters, churches and schools would be allowed to resume normal operations. The ban on public gatherings had been in effect since Oct. 9, with a brief (and disastrous) hiatus around Thanksgiving.

City health officer Dr. J.B. Anderson made this decision after a steady decline in new cases of Spanish flu and flu deaths.

He did, however, impose some conditions and exceptions. School children would not be allowed in theaters until Jan. 6. Theater patrons still would not be allowed to stand in groups in lobbies.

The ban would continue on dance halls and dance parties, community singing, and “unnecessary lodge or society meetings.” Anderson wanted to keep an eye on the flu statistics before lifting those restrictions.

Some new rules also were planned. There would be an “individual quarantine” on people afflicted with the flu, which meant that patients were banned from appearing “on any of the streets, alleys or other public places of the city,” or to mingle with other people. This quarantine still had to be approved by the Spokane City Council.

From the school beat: Spokane’s high schools would open later in the week after losing months to the flu ban. The Lewis and Clark High School principal said, “The regular work will start right where we left off and we are going to exercise more vim and energy throughout the school term.”

The North Central High School principal said “this will work no hardship on anyone and we will just do what we can with the time left.”

The city’s grade schools were scheduled to open on Jan. 6. To make up for lost time, the school day would be extended a half-hour and there were would be only one or two days off for spring vacation.

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