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Masks required statewide beginning Friday, June 26

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday afternnon that people will be required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors in public spaces if they cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance, starting this Friday.

Series: Coronavirus | Story 119

Last updated 6/23/2020 at 6:08pm

People statewide will be legally required to wear a mask when indoors or outdoors in public space if they cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19, beginning Friday, June 26, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday afternoon.

The statewide order follows a similar order over the weekend for Yakima County, which had seen an uptick in cases and potentially overwhelming its health care system. After other counties in Washington also saw increases in cases, the governor and the state Secretary of Health announced the statewide mandate for mask-wearing.

"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 Tuesday. "Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses."

"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.

There are exemptions. People with certain medical conditions, and children under the age of two, are allowed to not wear face masks. However, children who are two to four-years-old are encouraged (but not required) to wear a mask when in public with an adult. People are allowed to remove masks when eating or drinking at a restaurant, communicating with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, or are outdoors in public areas where they are able to stay 6 feet away from people who are not in their household.

Frequent handwashing, staying home while sick, getting tested for COVID-19, and practicing social distancing are still encouraged.


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