Washington state governor imposes sweeping restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

FILE PHOTO: Washington Governor Jay Inslee asks people to place a photo of a first responder on their car's dashboard and ask themselves each time they go out, is it worth risking that person's life to leave their home, during a press conference at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 28, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

(Reuters) - Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced sweeping new restrictions on gatherings and businesses on Sunday, including a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars, to combat a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The restrictions, most of which will take effect Monday at 11:59 p.m. and last for one month, come as the average daily tally for cases has doubled in the past two weeks, Inslee told a news conference.

The spike in cases “...means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being and to save lives,” Inslee said.

Indoor gatherings will be prohibited outside one’s household and outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people.

Religious services and in-store retail will be limited to 25% occupancy, Inslee said, while fitness gyms must halt indoor services, and youth and adult sports will be restricted to activities outdoors.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in Petersburg, West Virginia; Editing by Leslie Adler