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Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide mandatory face covering order during a press conference on Tuesday, June 23 that will take effect this Friday, June 26. This directive requires everyone in Washington to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and outdoor public areas where it is not feasible to socially distance from others.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the order is in response to reports of increasing COVID-19 case counts that may lead to overwhelming the health care system. Recent models suggest that wearing masks is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Exemptions include individuals with certain medical conditions, those who are deaf, and children under the age of 5; although they are encouraged to wear face covering in public.
The mandate also allows for removing 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 social distancing may be maintained, according to the release.
This order is in addition to the Phase 2 directives of the Safe Start Reopening Plan, found here: Safe Start Washington.