Washington State Patrol is addressing some frequently-asked questions in hopes of squashing any potential rumors or speculation being spread about restrictions or enforcement during Gov. Inslee's Stay Home order in Washington.
WSP is offering the following guidance (current as of March 26, but the situation is fluid and could change:
Is this martial law?
No, not even close. There are no curfews, however, citizen movements are restricted under the Governor’s Executive Order. The Order details traveling for essential purposes only, and call for staying at home and continued social distancing, specific business closures and prohibits non-essential social gatherings.
Do I need documentation from my employer deeming me essential?
No. The Governor’s Executive Order closes certain businesses, These businesses reflect operations that would make close contact difficult or impossible due to the nature of the business. Officers are not asking or looking for any type of special paperwork from your employer.
Do I need a special placard on my car, when going to work or if I drive for work?
No. There is no special documentation or placards for citizens going to an essential work place or for essential activities.
Will I be pulled over for driving on the highway?
Not for violation of the Governor’s Executive Order. If, however, you are committing a traffic violation or crime that would be enforced independent of the order, you may be stopped, like any other day.
Are the state lines closed and are there roadblocks?
No, traffic is moving freely within Washington and our border states. There are no roadblocks or restrictions of vehicle movement with Oregon or Idaho. Washingtonians should make themselves aware of executive orders or provisions of neighboring states when traveling within those states.
Is the Canadian border closed?
Temporary closure to non-essential traffic has been put in place by mutual consent between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trade is not effected. Refer to the Department of Homeland Security for updates at https://www.dhs.gov.
If my business is closed, can I still go to work if my employer makes me?
While the order prohibits the public from congregating at a closed business, the employer may still have essential work to do on site. As long as an employer/employees are not conducting business or practices that are prohibited by the Executive Order, it is okay to still be at the worksite. No “passes” or paperwork are required.
Are police arresting or ticketing people in public or in violation of the Governor's Executive Order?
Citizens that violate the Governor’s Order in an Emergency Declaration could be arrested or cited, which is a Misdemeanor- the lowest level of criminal conduct designation. All Washington law enforcement are united on the premise that police action is extremely undesirable, and we hope to educate citizens if congregating in violation of the Governor’s Order. Citation or arrest would be an extreme last resort if a citizen failed to comply with the lawful direction of a police officer.
What about my kids that may congregate in a place without my permission, like a skate park?
Like adults found to be congregating in a location, officers will likely approach the youths and educate them on the order. Citations and arrest are extremely unlikely, reserved for only the most extreme circumstances.