To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Governor Inslee has asked Washington residents to stay home. You might have questions about what that means. Here are some answers that may help.

Can I go outside? 

Yes. In fact, it is good for you to go for walks, check your mailbox, and sit in the sunshine. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from others, avoid travel, and avoid crowds.

Can my family or friends come visit? 

You should cancel or postpone in-person visits. But, you don’t have to isolate yourself! Keep in touch with your family and friends through phone and video calls, emails and letters, and virtual gatherings. You can use phone apps and social media platforms for group conversations and video chatting.

I live with other people who come and go. What do I do? 

Encourage everyone in your household to stay home unless they need groceries, prescriptions, or if they are still required to work. Anyone who goes out should wash their hands immediately when they get home. In your house, clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as remote controls, phones, countertops, and doorknobs.

How can I protect myself if I have to go out? 

If you have to go out, carry hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes, stay at least six feet away from others, cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and wash your hands when you get home. It’s a good idea to also clean off any items you bring home with you before you use them.

How can I get groceries and prescriptions? 

Many grocery store chains will deliver goods and prescriptions. Stores are also reserving times for people who are older, pregnant, or have health conditions to shop. Check your local grocery store for more information. You can also ask friends and family to help you get what you need.

Should I cancel my vacation plans? 

Yes. It is best to cancel or postpone any plans that involve traveling or being around people.

Should I cancel my doctor appointments? 

Talk to your doctor about whether you should cancel your appointments. If you have a condition that requires treatment, your doctor may ask you to come in. Or, your doctor may be able to conduct your appointment over the phone or online.

Are my pets affected? 

There is no evidence that people can get sick from their pets. However, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands after touching your pets, their food, waste, or supplies. Call your veterinarian of you have questions about your pet’s health.

Should I wear a facemask? 

You don’t need to wear a facemask if you are not sick. If you are sick, you should wear a facemask, if you have one. You should also put on a facemask when you go to your doctor’s office.

Can I go to my place of worship? 

No. Governor Inslee’s directive prohibits all gatherings, public and private. However, many places of worship are offering services over the internet. You can work with your leaders or other community members to provide services online.

Will I get my Social Security benefits? 

Yes. If you get a phone call from someone who says there is problem with your Social Security account, hang up. Unfortunately, people are scamming others.   

What should I do if I start to feel sick? 

Call your doctor before you leave the house to get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have symptoms that are getting worse, have a chronic health condition, or have shortness of breath. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

How long will this last? 

Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is for at least two weeks (from March 23, 2020).