March 24, 2020 at 1900 hrs.
Governor Inslee announced on March 23, 2020 proclamation #20-25: “Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order”. The order
is effective throughout Washington State and prohibits all people in Washington State from leaving their homes or
participating in social, spiritual and recreational gatherings of any kind regardless of the number of participants, and
all non-essential businesses in Washington State from conducting business. This order is to take effect midnight on
March 25, 2020. All non-essential businesses in Washington State shall cease operations, except for performing
basic minimum operations. All essential businesses are encouraged to remain open and maintain operations, but
must establish and implement social distancing. This is a critical intervention effort, on our part, to help notify our
citizens to keep them safe in order to reduce harm from the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
The New Normal (for now)
What does this mean to Cowlitz County residents? Washington citizens should not leave their homes except for
essential activities. Some examples of essential activities are: caring for elderly, minors, persons with disabilities or
others who are vulnerable. You can seek medical care, pick up medication, make needed purchases of supplies to
work from home, or get food for your family. Some of the types of essential businesses that will remain open are:
grocery stores, gas stations, health care facilities, pharmacies, restaurants for pick up or take-out meals, banks or
supply stores. There are no checkpoint planned to ensure compliance.
Health care professionals and first responders are providing essential services. Essential state and local government
functions are open in limited capacities. Utility services are continuing to provide garbage, water, sewer and electricity
services. These providers will continue to work with citizens to maintain services and assist with payment options.
While this situation poses some unknowns, be assured that all essential food and supplies will continue across our
roadways, that people will be able to travel to get essential needs like food and medical help, and that there are no
current needs or plans to close our borders with other states. It bears repeating— there is no need to overstock on
groceries and supplies. Be a good neighbor— remember that if we all shop as we normally would, there is plenty for
There is currently no plan to require businesses to register or apply for any permits, however businesses need to
demonstrate their “essential” status in order to remain open. The federal government identifies Critical (Essential)
Infrastructures Sectors at https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors. The sectors include: Energy, Chemical,
Commercial Facilities, Communications, Critical Manufacturing, Dams, Energy Services, Financial Services, Food
and Agriculture, Government Facilities, Health Care/Public Health, Information Technologies, Nuclear
Reactors/Materials/Waste, Defense Industrial Base, Transportation Systems, and Water/Waste Water/Utilities.
It is recommended for these businesses to provide their employees with a signed letter (on letterhead) that states their
employment status and the essential function of the business. Business issued ID cards would also be helpful for
employees to have in their possession, though not required. Employees of essential businesses can still go to work.
Every effort should be made to maintain social distancing of 6’ at work. If you have concerns about a business staying
open in conflict with the Governor’s “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” Order you can visit www.co.cowlitz.wa.us to fill out a
form or call 1-888-230-4970 for more information.
Law enforcement’s primary role is to help educate people about how to comply with orders to not gather together, to
stay at home, and other restrictions. Law enforcement is not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish
checkpoints for compliance. The “Stay at Home” order is like other laws in that they work because people agree with
the rationale and see it as a legitimate and sensible way to keep people safe. Our communities have shown they
understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families and
neighbors safe and healthy.
The Cowlitz Association of Sheriff and Police Chiefs (CASPC) fully supports this mission and is committed to ensuring
the safety of its communities.
Stay home if you can. Use common sense. Think how your actions can put others at risk. We want to encourage you
to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy by staying home. Don’t forget to check on elderly family
members and neighbors— just adhere to social distancing. You can still go outside and run, walk, hike or ride your
bike as long as you are maintaining the required social distancing of 6’ from individuals. You can walk your dog, walk
alone or with someone you live with or even another person as long as they maintain necessary space. Parks in
Cowlitz County will remain open to allow residents open spaces to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air, and sunshine. Play
structures at parks will be closed.
Remember to only “Spread the Facts” and to “Stay Home -Stay Healthy”.
For general Cowlitz County COVID-19 Information you can call 1-888-683-8676. For questions please email
Follow us at:
Twitter - @CowlitzDEM
IG - cowlitzcountydem
Facebook - Cowlitz Covid-19 Incident Management Team
Previous Press Releases: http://www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/196/Emergency-Managment