A statewide order calling for the mandatory use of face masks in Washington comes into effect on Friday morning.
Governor Jay Inslee first made the announcement at a press conference earlier this week, saying that Washingtonians would be required to wear a mask or coverings for the nose and mouth.
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The order was issued by Secretary of Health John Wiesman and must be follows in any public area, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
This includes situations such as the following: a person entering or waiting to enter an indoor location such as a grocery store or retailer; a person seeking health care services; a person boarding or waiting to board public transit; or when a person is outdoors and cannot maintain six feet of physical distancing.
The only exceptions to this order are children under the age of five, as well as those with a medical or mental health condition or disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.
The Washington State Department of Health adds that a child under the age of two should not wear a mask under any circumstances, as it could pose a risk of suffocation.
“I highly appreciate the efforts of those who already wear masks in public on a regular basis and urge others to join us in this critical measure to control the virus,” says Wiesman in a written statement. “We all have a role in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
The Department of Health says that a fabric face mask “can be anything from a scarf or kerchief to a sewn-on face mask.”
A proper-fitting face mask will cover the mouth and nose and be free of holes and tears.