Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman recently announced a statewide mandatory face covering order that will take effect Friday, June 26.
The order comes after a Saturday announcement of a mandatory mask proclamation for Yakima County starting this week. The order was in response to reports of increasing case counts and a potential overwhelming of the county’s health care system.
After subsequent reports of cases increasing in additional counties, the governor and Wiesman extended the face covering requirement today to include the entire state of Washington.
“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us,” Inslee said during a press conference on June 21. “Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses.”
Beginning Friday, June 26, every Washingtonian in an indoor public space, or in an outside public space when unable to physically distance from others, will be legally required to wear a face covering, as mandated by the public health order signed by Wiesman.
In addition, individuals may remove face coverings under certain circumstances, including while eating or drinking at a restaurant; while communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing; and while outdoors in public areas, provided that a distance of six feet is maintained from people who are not members of their household.
"The science is clear that when we use face coverings, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze. While some of us are wearing face coverings in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Washington’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if, together, we act safely and follow health recommendations," Wiesman said.