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Gov. Inslee’s ‘no mask, no service’ mandate goes into effect Tuesday

People eat lunch on a balcony at the Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery in Tacoma, Wash. Face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings are required, but people eating out at restaurants don't have to wear masks at the table as long as they are properly distanced from others. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Gov. Inslee’s newest statewide mask mandate is in effect starting July 7. Businesses in Washington state are not allowed to serve a customer who is not wearing a mask, and may ask them to leave.

“This is not an optional plan for businesses,” the governor said. “This is a legal requirement. This is not merely a suggestion. If you go to a business and you’re not complying with this, the business cannot legally serve you.”

Counties to remain in current phases; Inslee to sign ‘No Mask, No Service’ mandate

Any business who refuses to enforce the order could face fines or a loss of a their business license. Gov. Inslee does expect some pushback, but hopes most people will comply and enforcement won’t have to be involved.

There are now three face covering orders in place statewide:

  1. All employers must provide face coverings or masks for all employees who do not work alone.
  2. Effective June 26, the Washington State Department of Health’s order directs all individuals to wear a face covering in indoor, public settings or when outdoors and unable to maintain distance from others.
  3. Effective July 7, the governor’s order directs all businesses to require and enforce the use of face coverings by all customers and visitors.

There are a few exceptions for individuals with medical or other exemptions and young children who may be unable to wear a face covering. In these cases, businesses are encouraged to provide alternative accommodations, including takeout, delivery, or virtual meetings.

Face coverings are not required if you are in your home, only with people in your household, or when you are alone in your car. They are also not required when you’re seated at a restaurant, eating or drinking, or when you are outdoors and away from other people.

The newest mandate was issued in response to a rise of coronavirus cases reported across the state. While staying home remains the best way to protect oneself from the virus, as state Secretary of Health John Wiesman has said, masks have also been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of COVID-19.

“[Masks are] a symbol that we care about the community, we care about our loved ones,” Inslee said.

Washington state saw an increase of over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in Monday’s update from the Department of Health, the first time that threshold has been reached since the pandemic began. As of publishing, there are 36,985 total COVID-19 cases statewide, and 1,370 deaths.

Find more information on face masks and coverings, statewide mandates, and other related resources from Washington state officials online here.

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