Unlike Everett’s directive, violating Edmonds’ ‘stay at home’ order is a misdemeanor

EDMONDS, Wash. — Edmonds City Council took emergency action Sunday to slow the spread of the coronavirus by giving Mayor Mike Nelson the power to do what some have called on Governor Jay Inslee to do: order people to stay home.

The emergency stay at home order, issued by Mayor Nelson, took effect Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. for the city’s more than 40,000 residents and includes exceptions for essential businesses and activities, like going to the doctor and visiting the grocery store. People are still allowed outside for fresh air as long as they follow social distancing guidelines and remain at least six feet apart.

“The circumstances that we are currently under right now warranted this really quick and rapid response,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson, during Sunday’s emergency meeting.

The city says employers in Edmonds that do not provide essential businesses or government services should take steps for employees to work remotely from home. Edmonds city spokesperson Jamie Holter said violating the order is a misdemeanor.

“It is enforceable by law - it may mean a misdemeanor ticket - which isn’t heavy handed but it’s a financial possibility,” said Holter. “What’s more important is that people understand the severity of the situation.”

Everett’s mayor announced a directive for people to stay home that goes into effect Monday at noon. Unlike Edmonds’ order, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin told KIRO 7 Saturday that violating her directive will not be a misdemeanor as it would have to be ratified by city council to have the force of law.

Holter said the city is doing its part to flatten the curve. In recent days, Edmonds has announced closures of beach access and playgrounds in order to fight the rise in COVID-19 infections that threaten to overwhelm local hospitals.

“We have closed the dog park and the marina beaches because there was record-like summer crowds,” said Edmonds City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis.