Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued similar advisories Friday.
The advisories urge the public to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel and encourage residents to stay close to home. The advisory defines essential travel “as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.”
However, the advisory is a recommendation and not a mandate, and there is little way to enforce it.
The Transportation Security Administration said it’s not in a law enforcement role, and passengers with a legitimate ticket and ID are cleared to get on an airplane.
And with highways connecting Washington, Oregon and California to the rest of the country there seems to be little ability to keep people out.
The only state that’s really made a travel advisory stick with enforcement is the island state of Hawaii, which has recently relaxed requirements for people who take a test showing they’re negative for COVID 19.
Just several days ago, officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport told KING 5 they expected an uptick of travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Inslee’s new advisory also comes a day after he encouraged Washingtonians to change their November and December holiday plans as the number of COVID-19 cases spike around the state and country.
“We have to rethink these holidays so that we may be thankful when we don’t lose more lives to COVID,” Inslee said during Thursday’s live televised address.
The states’ travel advisories also recommend that the public should limit interactions to members of their immediate household.
“COVID cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks. This puts our state in as dangerous a position today as we were in March,” Inslee said in a statement. “Limiting and reducing travel is one way to reduce the further spread of the disease. I am happy to partner with California and Oregon in this effort to help protect lives up and down the West Coast.”
Newsom noted that California just surpassed the sobering threshold of 1 million COVID-19 cases with no sign of the virus spread slowing.
“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” Brown said in a statement. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”
Inslee did not announce any new COVID-19 restrictions during Thursday night’s address, however, his office said new restrictions are “actively under consideration.”