Governor issues statewide face covering order to fight COVID-19 spread in Washington

After a week where Washington State reported over 2,600 new COVID-19 cases, on June 23rd, Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide face covering order. The order was initially only imposed on Yakima County – the current epicenter of coronavirus spread in Washington.

The mandatory face covering order begins Friday, June 26th. The City of Snoqualmie said the ‘Snoqualmie Police Department will continue to educate and advise the public about the importance of face coverings and the governor’s mandate.

Gov. Inslee said wearing a face covering will be a legal requirement, but is not cause for more than a ‘gentle word’ for those without masks in public. It is a misdemeanor not to comply, but the governor said it is not intention for police officers to enforce the order. He said he hoped common sense would apply.

This new statewide public health order means all residents over the age of 5 are required to wear masks/face coverings while in public – indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be achieved.

There are exemptions for those with pulmonary issues or those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Residents also exempt are when eating at a restaurant or when exercising alone or with members of the same household.

Public Health Secretary John Weisman said masks are a strong tool for fighting the spread of coronavirus, but stated that staying home is still the safest way to fight the virus.

During a Tuesday press conference, Governor Inslee noted the effective reproductive number of the novel coronavirus is on the rise in Eastern and Western Washington, something the DOH warned about in a June 13th report. The target is below 1 and it is above that level statewide, even though the situation if more dire in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties.

The governor said face coverings should help the economy continue to reopen – help Washing alleviate setbacks like the COVID-19 outbreaks other U.S. are currently experiencing during their re-openings.

The CEO of Costco – which requires face coverings in its stores – also participated in the press conference. He explained putting Costco’s mask mandate in place at stores was a learning process, but it’s now ‘business as usual’ and also helps protect its essential workers. He said he supports the statewide mandate.

Currently the rate of infection in Yakima is 27 times higher than King County according to Inslee. He also also noted Yakima is out of hospital beds and some COVID-19 patients are being sent to Seattle for treatment.

Face coverings can be scarves, bandannas, cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose and tightly go over the chin.

King County issued a Face Coverings directive in mid May, but was is a voluntary directive, not a public health order. According to the office of King County Councilmember Kathy Lamber, the new statewide order will supersede King County’s [previous] mask directive.

Inslee said it is likely the face covering order could be in place until a vaccine – or another tool to fight the virus – is available, but also said things can change..

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  • This is completely ridiculous. There has to be some way to fight these mandates. Best way to fight the virus is to stay home? Really? and how long do you expect us to stay home? Months? Years? Decades? I’m seriously considering moving to another state.

    1. It’s obviously unconstitutional on its face (no pun intended). Enforcement on someone who has not been proven to be a threat to others is a violation of due process, and testing without a warrant, or at least probable cause, is unreasonable search and seizure, among other things. It would be violating at least 4 different amendments.

      Unfortunately, in order to fight the absurdity of this totalitarian leftist oppression, you have to first have standing, so you have to suffer harm or the case will be thrown out. That’s why he is saying not to arrest anyone, because he knows it would never hold up and the whole thing would be thrown out. Unfortunately, as far left as the courts are, it would likely have to go all the way to SCOTUS, and even then, Roberts would likely sabotage it. Maybe by then RBG will have been taken off life support and replaced though.

      Jay is banking on people complying out of fear of harassment and shaming by the sheeple as a whole.

    2. Me too. I cannot believe the fear of this thing has let ego maniacs like him take over.

      1. COVID didn’t let him take over, the leftists who voted for him did. Unquestioned subservience to the state has been the left’s ideology for hundreds of years. Absolute control of you and your life.

        COVID was just their latest excuse to test out their desires. And now they know just how eager the sheeple are to forfeit their rights. What a dangerous precedent you have all set by allowing this to continue.

  • Does anyone know if he has even set an expiration of this mandate??? Or are we just infinitely going to have to cover our means of breathing at the risk of being prosecuted?

    1. The police aren’t actually citing anyone as far as I can see. Simply don’t comply. I don’t wear one anywhere except when I’m at work because I don’t want to be fired.

  • Living Snoqualmie