King County asks residents to wear masks in public, indoor settings

May 11, 2020, 2:55 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
People wearing masks walk by The Spheres at the downtown Amazon campus on April 30, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

Seattle and King County announced Monday that they are urging residents to wear face coverings in all indoor public settings, and outdoors where social distancing is difficult. This includes grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores, as well as picking up food at a restaurants or at a farmers market. The health directive goes into effect on May 18, 2020.

UW expert: ‘History of the virus remains to be written’ in US

“By face coverings, we do not mean the N-95, surgical masks,” King County Executive Dow Constantine clarified. “We’re talking about fabric masks, scarves, a bandanna, and the disposable non-medical masks” that cover your nose and mouth.

Exceptions to the directive include children, people with disabilities, deaf individuals, and others who may not be able to wear a mask for health or other reasons.

There is no penalty for not wearing a face covering, and law enforcement will not be involved in this directive.

Additionally, King County Metro will be requiring all passengers and operators to wear face coverings. However, Metro drivers will not prevent passengers from boarding if they do not have a mask. Reminders to follow distancing and public health guidelines, including the directive to wear a mask, will play over Metro’s public announcement system on board.

Constantine said he expects the most common question following this announcement to be, “why now?”

“The answer is this: We are at a precarious moment in our battle against this virus,” he said.

This is one step everyone can take to protect themselves, each other, the essential workers, and to help slow the spread of the virus, he said.

“It is a sign of our mutual concern for each other,” Constantine added.

Local leaders recognized that not everyone in King County has access to a mask or face covering. The county said it will distribute 115,000 face coverings through community based organizations, and the city of Seattle is working to distribute more than 45,000 face coverings to vulnerable communities, including older adults, those experiencing homelessness, and food bank staff.

Sea-Tac Airport requiring all travelers, workers to wear masks

Constantine said masks do not provide a “new license” to harass anyone or intimidate our neighbors who are not wearing a face covering.

“We’ll stand up against any kind of discrimination, whether that was a stigmatization of the Asian community by many at the beginning of this … or whether it be profiling against anyone because of their past,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. “We won’t stand for that. What we will do is come together collectively to show the kind of responsibility that we have shown as a region over a long period of time.”


Local News

Echo Glen...
Dalton Day

Echo Glen youth detention center, site of recent escape, understaffed, underfunded, report says

A 2018 report indicates that employees of Echo Glen insist that the detention facility is short staffed, and that its counselors are not sufficiently trained.
24 hours ago
Washington voting...
Nick Bowman

Washington weighs significant changes to how (and when) it votes in 2022

A trio of proposals related to how Washington conducts its elections could bring dramatic voting changes to the state by the end of the legislative session.
24 hours ago
Paine Field 5G...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

5G concerns, fog lead to more cancellations at Paine Field

More Alaska Airlines flights out of Paine Field were cancelled Thursday, citing issues created by the combination of 5G signals and fog.
24 hours ago
catalytic converter...
MyNorthwest Staff

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Competing proposals from Democrats and Republicans to crack down on catalytic converter thefts are set for committee votes on Jan. 27.
2 days ago
Gov. Jay Inslee, long-term care tax...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gov. Inslee approves 18-month delay on long-term care tax

The Washington State Senate voted to delay implementation of the new long-term care payroll tax on Wednesday. 
2 days ago
Rideshare companies...
Nick Bowman

Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new PAC, in what appears to be the precursor for a Washington ballot initiative. 
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
King County asks residents to wear masks in public, indoor settings