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COVID-19 Guidance

Governor Inslee’s Latest COVID-19 Restrictions

In order to slow the spread of rapidly increasing COVID cases in our state andensure that hospital and medical systems are not overwhelmed, we are taking the very difficult but necessary steps to protect public health.

We recognize this will cause financial hardship for many businesses and the governor and staff are exploring waysto mitigate the impacts.

From midnight on Monday, November 16throughMonday, December 14, all counties in Washington rollback to the restrictions outlined below.

Restrictionmodifications for all countieseffective midnight on Monday, November 16, unless otherwise noted. If the activity is not listed, it should follow its current guidance. All K-12/highereducation, health care,and childcare areexempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not apply to courts and judicial branch-related proceedings.

  • Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile.
  • Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5)people from outside your household.
  • Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
  • Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above.
  • Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service.
  • Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spacesin a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue.
  • Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.
  • Real Estate: Open houses are prohibited.
  • Wedding and Funerals: Ceremonies are limited to a total of no more than 30 people. Indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such ceremonies are prohibited.
  • In-Store Retail shall be limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, and common/congregate seating areas and indoor dining facilities such as food courts are closed.
  • Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, found here, applicable to the structure or facility.
  • Professional Services are required to mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public if possible. Any office that must remain open must limit occupancy to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits.
  • Personal Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits. Personal service providers include:cosmetologists, cosmetology testing, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tanning salons, and tattoo artists.
  • Long-term Care Facilities: Outdoor visits are permitted. Indoor visits are prohibited, but individual exceptions for an essential support person or end-of-life care are permitted. These restrictions are also extended to the facilities in Proclamation 20-74, et seq. All other provisions of Proclamations 20-66, et seq., and 20-74, et seq., including all preliminary criteria to allow any visitors, remain in effect.
  • Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, withfacial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.

What is Escrow?

When discussing real estate transactions, it is not at all uncommon to hear the word escrow. .Often times the word “escrow” seems like it has different meanings. For example: “Our house is in escrow”, “The money is in escrow”, “The loan has an escrow account” or “I need to drop some papers off at escrow.”

Here is the deal: Escrow is a service provided by a natural third party for the disbursement of documents and funds in a transaction. This third party is an unbiased, independent, trusted agent who has no real relationship with either of the principal parties or any monetary interest in the transaction.

Escrow will normally involve a trust account; which is a special account just for holding funds that will distributed upon close of the transaction. Funds deposited in escrow may not be deposited into a general business account or comingled with other funds. The agency holding these funds may not benefit by these funds in any way, to include collecting interest.

Most of us understand escrow to be the time that an offer is accepted and when the deal closes. There are a lot of things that need to happen during this time and they need to all happen in a certain order. If one of these steps is delayed or done in the wrong order, it slows down and complicates the whole process.

Often times a home mortgage will have an escrow account attached to it. This is sometimes called an impound account. This is an account that the borrower pays into each month with their regular house payment. The money is used to pay taxes and insurance. When you hear the term PITI, this means principal, interest, taxes and insurance. This means that the payment involves an escrow account.

There are escrow companies that specialize in managing distribution of funds in owner financed transactions. This service will include collecting payment from the buyer, insuring that taxes are kept up to date, maintaining insurance on the property and paying the seller. Here you have a natural third party collecting funds distributing funds and keeping records. They are also insuring that the collateral is protected by keeping insurance and taxes current.

Looking at my original definition, it is easy to see how this one term can apply to a number of different situations that might be encountered in a real estate transaction.

written by:

Manito Park in the fall