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Washington legislative leaders in both parties back Inslee’s ‘stay home’ order

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane, left, talks with Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, right, after they took part in the AP Legislative Preview, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Billig has criticized Schoesler for declining to sign off on the extension of an emergency order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee related to domestic violence protection orders. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

OLYMPIA – Legislative leaders backed Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay home” order Monday night, urging residents to increase efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across Washington.

“This is a crisis for everyone in our community and any individual could get sick themselves or they could give the illness to a loved one,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane.

If people make wise decisions that help minimize the spread of the virus, it could shorten the duration of restrictions, said Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. Some people may think they are relatively low-risk, but they need to keep their vulnerable friends and family members in mind.


“It’s just part of being a caring member of society,” Schoesler said.

The state is challenged by a lack of resources and has only been able to carry out limited testing, said House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma.

“We don’t actually know who’s out there, who’s not actually showing signs or symptoms,” she said. A higher number of young people than originally projected have been admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive, Jinkins said.

“If young people aren’t in it for themselves they should really be in it for their parents, their grandparents, and the people around them,” she said. “Every single person in the state has the power to stop the transmission of the (virus) and that’s through social distancing.”


Residents need to adopt the attitude that they’re responsible not only for their own health but what they might spread to other people, said House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm.

It’s important for people to note that the rule is not a “shelter in place” order, Billig said. People can still go out for a walk or work in their yards.

“Washingtonians are particularly resilient and I know that together we’re going to get through this,” he said.