Statewide mask order begins Friday

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By order of Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman, face coverings, or masks, will be required in indoor and outdoor public settings statewide beginning Friday, June 26.

The requirement applies to anyone who is in an indoor public setting, seeking health care services, waiting for or riding public transportation, or is outdoors and unable to maintain six feet distance between themselves and others.

"I think of these face coverings, in some sense, as a statement," Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday  when announcing the order. 

"It's a statement that when you wear it, means you care about people, because it means you want to reduce the risk that you are going to infect another person," Inslee said.

This order comes as Washington state is one of 25 states across the country that have seen an uptick of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Yakima County has run out of hospital beds as a result of a severe outbreak there has made it the epicenter of the virus in Washington. 

Two other counties, Benton and Franklin, are also dangerously close to reaching hospital capacity. 

Exceptions to the mask order apply to children under the age of 5 and people with a medical, mental, or physical condition that would prevent them from wearing a face covering. 

Officials said anyone who is found to have willfully violated the mandate can face a misdemeanor criminal charge. 

In Yakima County, businesses that do not enforce the mandate could be subject to state-ordered closure, Inslee said.

“Until a vaccine or a cure is developed, this really is going to be our best defense,” Inslee said.

A face covering is defined by the state as anything from a scarf, to a bandana, to a homemade mask. It must fit snugly around the nose and mouth and not have any holes or tears.

The state Department of Health recommends washing face coverings daily.

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Marge samuelson

"But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices."

"The state’s cases began rising dramatically about May 25, 10 days after Ducey allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire, said Joe K. Gerald, an associate professor and public health researcher at the University of Arizona who is part of the academic team providing models to the state health department."

Washington Post

In Washington State starting Friday June 26th it is ordered Masks be worn in public and distancing.

Friday, June 26
Justin Hale

The order is to wear the mask in public IF the 6 foot distancing cannot be maintained.

Friday, June 26
Marge samuelson

I see the vice president Mike Pence has released a photo wearing a mask and encouraging people to wear mask in affected areas where 6 feet of distance can't be maintained. After his comments, though, Pence led a rally that featured a 100-person choir who sang without masks — despite the high risk of transmission . . .

Talk about a mixed message . . .

In an interview earlier on CBS' "Face the Nation," Pence said the administration believes people should wear masks wherever it's called for by state or local authorities.

Do you suppose he was including Trump in his "The Administration" comment?

Monday, June 29