Governor Jay Inslee speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, Arizona

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a mandatory face-covering order for the state of Washington starting June 26. Masks must be worn in indoor spaces and outdoors when social distancing isn’t feasible, with exemptions allowed for “people with certain disabilities or health conditions, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 5 (though it’s encouraged to have children ages 3-5 wear a covering if possible).” Violation of the statewide order is considered a misdemeanor punishable by “up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.”

As of Tuesday evening, there were over 28,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington and over 4,000 hospitalizations, according to the state Department of Health. On June 19, Yakima County stated in a press release that Virginia Mason Memorial had no “intensive care or non-intensive care beds available” and multiple patients waiting for bed space overnight.

The statewide order follows similar mandates in both California and Yakima County in Washington. In Yakima County, businesses are required to turn away individuals not wearing masks. Businesses who do not comply will be contacted by state agencies and may lose their license to operate after repeated warnings. Violations by individuals are considered a gross misdemeanor punishable by “up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.”

Individuals have argued against mandatory mask orders in other states, alleging that they are unconstitutional. Several attorneys in Florida are currently preparing a lawsuit against an order requiring face coverings in public places. On Twitter, Loren Culp, a Republican candidate for governor in Olympia, Washington, referred to Washington’s mandatory mask order as “unconstitutional and ridiculous” and said that residents need “a real leader in Olympia, not a dictator.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Washington becomes the latest state to mandate wearing masks in public – CNN – 6/24/2020
The rule, which will go into place Friday, will require masks in any indoor public space, as well as outdoors if social distancing can’t be maintained. Any facial covering that fits over the nose and mouth will be permitted. “I think of these face coverings, in some sense, as a statement,” Inslee said during a news conference announcing the rule. “It’s a statement that when you wear it, it means you care about people, because it means you want to reduce the risk that you are going to infect another person.”

Washington orders face coverings statewide starting Friday as coronavirus spreads – Fox News – 6/24/2020
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced a statewide mandate requiring facial coverings for residents in public spaces amid a recent increase in coronavirus cases. The legal requirement will take effect Friday and includes any indoor public space, as well as outdoor areas when social distancing measures can’t be maintained. The order encompasses the entire state of Washington.

In Washington State, Not Wearing a Face Mask Will Be a Misdemeanor – People – 6/24/2020
Those who violate the new mandate will face a misdemeanor charge, the governor said. “I think of these face coverings, in some sense, as a statement,” Inslee said. “It’s a statement that when you wear it, it means you care about people, because it means you want to reduce the risk that you are going to infect another person.”

What is law enforcement’s role under Gov. Inslee’s mask mandate? – My Northwest – 6/24/2020
“We just want, inform, educate and encourage people to wear the masks when they’re in public spaces,” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show the morning after Inslee announced the mandate. […] “Like the governor said, it isn’t something that law enforcement is seeking out to do and arrest people–we’re not looking to do any of that. We’re just looking to encourage people … I know it’s a pain, but it’s for the safety of others.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Tammy Bruce on Twitter, 6/24/2020: Now the normals will be committing a crime if they don’t wear a mask because cases skyrockets in Washington state. This after days of riots of demos were put up with. Same “governor” who was clueless about CHAZ takeover in Seattle

WA Democrats on Twitter, 6/24/2020: Why should you #MaskUpWA? To protect your family, friends, and neighbors. To protect healthcare workers. To protect yourself. Here’s how to wear your mask properly

Chris Field on Twitter, 6/24/2020: Beat this: In Washington, the governor just issued a face mask requirement for everyone — unless you’re deaf.

Rep. Derek Kilmer on Twitter, 6/24/2020: Do your part: wear a mask and slow the spread. #MaskUpWA

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