Governor Inslee and the Secretary of Health have signed a proclamation requiring all persons to wear a face covering in public in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Washington State, beginning Friday, June 26, 2020.
However, the order does not apply to all persons, and contains a few exceptions. The order states as follows:
Every person in Washington State must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in any indoor or outdoor public setting, including, but not limited to:
- Inside any building, including, but not limited to, any business, that is open to the public;
- In healthcare settings, including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician’s or dentist’s office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
- While in line waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit, or while riding in a taxi, private care service, ride-sharing vehicle, or other for hire vehicle; and
- In outdoor public areas, including but not limited public parks, trails, streets, sidewalks, lines for entry, exit, or service, and recreation areas, when a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from any non-household member.
Individuals may remove their face coverings when in public settings under the following circumstances:
- While seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from guests seated at other tables;
- While engaged in indoor or outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, provided that a distance at least six feet in maintained from non-household members, except that face covering requirements for individuals engaged in team sports activities are governed by the requirements issued by the Governor;
- While in an outdoor public area, provided that a distance of at least six feet is maintained from non-household members;
- When any party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face covering is essential to communication;
- While obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering;
- While sleeping;
- When necessary to confirm the individual’s identity; and
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of a face covering.
The order does not require that children under five years old wears masks, nor does it require that a person wear a face cover if the person has a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents that person from being able to wear a mask.
The order does not mandate what sort of cover a person wears, only that it be made from cloth, and that it covers a person’s nose and mouth.
This order differs from others that have come from the Governor’s office during the COVID-19 pandemic, because it was issued under the authority of the Secretary of Health for the State of Washington. However, just like Governor Emergency Proclamation, this order is enforceable as law.
Is the Executive Order Enforceable?
Pursuant to RCW 70.05.120, violating an order or rule of the secretary related to the suppression or control of a contagious and infectious disease is punishable by criminal penalties. In this case, violations of this face covering order could be punishable by up to ninety (90) days in jail, or up to $100.00 in fines.
Questions? Call Althauser Rayan Abbarno in Centralia or Olympia!
If you have any questions about any of Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 proclamations, or any other question of law, the attorneys at Althauser Rayan Abbarno are staying up to date and are able to assist you. Call for a consultation today at 360-736-1301.