Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide, mandatory face covering order that takes effect today, Friday, June 26. That means beginning today, Washingtonians are legally required* to wear a face covering in a public space, both indoors and outdoors.
The science is clear that wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are most effective when we’re all wearing them to protect each other: your mask protects the people around you, and their mask protects you.
Wearing a mask is an act of protection. Wearing a mask is an act of compassion. Wearing a mask is an act of respect for the people around you. Wearing a mask means you’re listening to the public health experts who say it’s the best thing we can do to help keep everyone safe. Because that’s what public health does: keeps us all safe.
We are connected. Now, more than ever, our individual choices greatly impact the lives around us. As our economy reopens, as cases of COVID-19 increase and hospitalizations surge, it’s important to remain vigilant: know the facts, limit your exposure, wear a mask, stay at least 6-feet away from other people, keep washing your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and get tested if you think you have COVID-19.
COVID-19 is here to stay. Until a vaccine is developed and widely distributed, we have to decide how we’re going to live with it, and that includes how we’re going to take care of the people around us.
Be prepared: if you’re outside and don’t think you’ll need a mask, carry one in your pocket just in case.
Save the surgical masks and PPE for the medical professionals and front-line workers. Click this link to read our first blog about masks, including directions on how to make your own from household materials.
Information changes rapidly. Know the facts. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable information at coronavirus.wa.gov.
Contact the Washington State call center for answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 at 1-800-525-0127. Hours 6am – 10pm, seven days a week.
*There are specific exemptions to the face covering order for those who may be adversely impacted by wearing a facial covering. Exemptions include those with certain medical conditions and children under the age of two, who should not wear a face covering. 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 minimum distance of six feet is maintained between people.