Tag Archives: Face Masks

Mask Wearing Is Now Required in WA State

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.

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Which Mask for Which Task – DLI News

New workplace mask guidance helps determine Which Mask for Which Task

Most workers in Washington have to wear a mask or face covering at work under new coronavirus workplace safety and health requirements that took effect June 8th.

With some exceptions, workers must wear some type of face covering or mask to help limit the spread of the coronavirus to those around them. Other higher-risk jobs may require respirators to protect the worker from infection by patients or clients.

Under the requirements, employers must provide the face coverings and masks to employees at no charge. Workers can bring their own face coverings and masks as well, as long as they meet requirements.

Which mask for which task

The new Department of Labor & Industries (DLI) guidance document describes various types of jobs based on the level of risk to workers, from negligible risk to extremely high. The publication spells out which face-covering, mask, or respirator is required for that task.

Along with details about the appropriate protective face covering, the guidance also includes photos to help workers and employers identify the type of mask required.

“We know that choosing the correct face covering, mask or respirator can be confusing. It’s a new experience for most employers and people on the job,” said DLI Assistant Director Anne Soiza. “This guidance should help employers and workers understand the risk level for various tasks, and make the right choice to protect workers from the coronavirus. Employers needing assistance can call on our statewide consultants for help.”

Exceptions to mask requirements

There are some limited exceptions to the workplace requirements for masks and face coverings. For example, someone working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a jobsite with no in-person interactions is not required to wear a face covering or mask.

Other exceptions include workers who are deaf or hard of hearing, or a person on the job who communicates with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expression and mouth movements as a part of communication. A worker with a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a facial covering inappropriate is also exempt from the requirement.

New training and information

DLI has developed a training template that employers can use to meet requirements to train employees about coronavirus. It covers numerous topics including symptoms, transmission, face coverings and worker rights. The training is available in English and Spanish online.

The nature of the outbreak changes daily, so it’s important for everyone to have the most current information. DLI has a COVID-19 webpage, and there’s important information on the state Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) site. There’s also an online form for people to report suspected violations of the Governor’s orders regarding essential business functions, evictions, and social distancing.

Information is the best resource to protect workers and the public. DLI urges employers to stay as informed as possible, and to take all measures necessary to keep Washington workers safe and healthy.

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