Mask wearing is now required in Washington State. Governor Inslee implemented a new statewide requirement that all residents wear masks in public. On June 23rd, Governor Inslee announced a new statewide requirement that all Washingtonians and visitors to the State wear facemasks or coverings in indoor public places such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires that face coverings be used in outdoor settings where people cannot stay six feet apart from people not of their own household.
Governor Inslee’s order follows significant increases in the COVID-19 transmission rate throughout Washington. Yakima County is currently a hotspot, with a rate of COVID-19 spread in that is 27 times that of King County. The Governor has paused the process for counties to enter Phase 4, due to increases seen in case numbers across the State. This pause effects even the 7 counties where the data would otherwise support entering the final phase of reopening, which has essentially no restrictions on activities or business.
Skagit County has also seen an increase in transmission over the last several weeks. According to a notice from Skagit Public Health, this increase is primarily due to unauthorized social gatherings, travel and transmission between coworkers. Skagit County is currently in Phase 2.
As more and more people return to work, begin eating out in restaurants again, and seeing friends and family, the importance of taking precautions against the spread of the Coronavirus increases. Mask wearing is a simple precaution that almost everyone can implement. There are exceptions for those who are not medically able, are deaf and/or hard of hearing, and children under 5 years of age. Everyone else should wear a mask.
There is ambiguity when the order states that mask wearing is required outdoors when you cannot be at least six feet apart from other people. This can be hard to maintain in the city, where you likely should wear the mask anytime you’re walking down the street. But, even is out on a hiking trail, you should be prepared to put a mask on when you come into contact with others.
The mask wearing requirement went into effect on Friday, June 26, 2020. Willful noncompliance is a misdemeanor offense. You can find further information on the Washington state Coronavirus website.