During a recent training, South King Fire and Rescue members at Station 62 wear personal protective gear, which includes face masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns. Courtesy photo

During a recent training, South King Fire and Rescue members at Station 62 wear personal protective gear, which includes face masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns. Courtesy photo

Governor orders statewide use of face coverings in public

Jay Inslee says that until there is a vaccine, it’s the best weapon to stop the spread of COVID-19.

OLYMPIA — Moving to further blunt the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday (June 23) said people in Washington must wear a mask or cloth face covering in any indoor or outdoor public setting.

The order will take effect Friday, June 26, and will apply to most situations when people are unable to keep 6 feet away from others in public places — be it standing at a bus stop, waiting in line at a grocery store or hoofing it on a crowded sidewalk.

If widely followed, the mandate could be the best weapon available in the state’s battle to contain the virus responsible for a pandemic that’s claimed nearly 1,300 lives in the state since February, Inslee said.

The mask mandate could be in place until a vaccine or cure is developed, Inslee said at a televised news conference. Recent scientific models show widespread mask wearing can reduce the incidence of COVID-19 cases by as much as 80%, he said. There is also mounting evidence in other countries of a correlation between widespread mask usage and diminished spread of the virus, he said.

You won’t have to don a face covering while eating in restaurants or when alone with household members if you are able to maintain a 6-foot social distance.

There will be exemptions for the deaf or hard of hearing when they are actively communicating with someone else. The order does not require children under age 5 to wear them. However, it is still strongly recommended for those ages 3 to 5.

Workers in Washington have been required to wear a mask or face covering since June 8, except when working by themselves in an office, or at a job site, or if they have no in-person interactions. Employers must provide cloth facial coverings, although employees can wear their own if it meets the minimum requirements.

Inslee also ordered additional restrictions in Yakima County, where cases are surging far faster than the rest of the state. He said June 20 that the infection rate there is 28 times that of King County. Yakima County is one of only three counties in Washington that has remained in Phase 1 lockdown.

Inslee’s proclamation, which he first announced June 20, requires all customers to wear a mask when entering a business, even if they are in an area that is outdoors. Also, companies must not allow any customers to enter without a face covering.

The orders also will take effect June 26.

As of Tuesday, King County has reported 9,369 positive COVID-19 tests and 584 related deaths.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

From the Issaquah Black Lives Matter demonstration, Friday, June 12. Photo by William Shaw
Issaquah starts conversations on action plan for police accountability, equity

While contrasting, passionate ideas were expressed by the speakers at the June 29 meeting, Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said it left her optimistic that they were all closer than they think on public safety.

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Most Read