Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman have announced that as of June 26 Washingtonians are legally required to wear a face covering when inside public spaces or when outdoors in public spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
Face coverings will help protect the health of Washingtonians, including essential workers and those returning to the workforce who face a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.
The Governor’s Office reported that “wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent models suggest that the incidence of COVID-19 cases can be reduced if the majority of the population is wearing masks. This correlation has been seen in other countries that have been able to lower the curve through mask usage.”
Those with certain medical conditions and children under the age of two are exempted from this requirement, although children as young as two, three and four are encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering in public.
Face coverings can be removed 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 distance of six feet is maintained from people who are not members of their household.
In addition to wearing masks, everyone should continue to practice precautions designed to contain the spread of the disease.
“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.