Statewide Face Mask Requirements

It's official - face coverings are now required in most public places in Washington and businesses must refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.

Updated July 14: On June 23, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced an order mandating the use of cloth face coverings in most public areas. The order took effect June 26. Shortly after, Governor Inslee announced a statewide order for businesses to refuse service to patrons who are not wearing face coverings. The order went into effect Tuesday, July 7.

Individuals are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces like stores, offices, and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when individuals can't stay 6 feet apart.

Face covering may be removed when seated at a restaurant or when recreating alone. Individuals do not need to wear a cloth face covering in their home when they are only with people in their household, alone in their car, or outdoors and people are far apart.

Exemptions. People with certain disabilities or health conditions, 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) are not required to wear face coverings.

Enforcement. Customers who are concerned that a business is not adequately enforcing the face mask order or other Safe Start requirements can submit an anonymous complaint. Violations can be enforced by Labor & Industries as a safety and health violation by the employer that could carry a penalty of nearly $10,000 or more. Individuals not following the DOH order on face coverings may be subject to a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $100 and/or up to 90 days in county jail per RCW 43.70.130(7), RCW 70.05.120(4), and WAC 246-100-070(3). Click here for more information.

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Still need a face covering? Please contact the City's COVID-19 Hotline, 206-275-7626 or coronavirus@mercergov.org. The City also hosts regular distribution events in City parks and Town Center. If you need a face covering now, check out this very simple, 45-second video on how to make a covering out of a t-shirt or check out other DIY, no-sew face covering options.

Wear it right! We're still seeing people who are not quite wearing face coverings correctly. Make sure you are following best practices. And don't forget to wash your face coverings regularly!

It really does help! The CDC just released a report highlighting the effectiveness of face coverings against COVID-19 transmission. Click here to read their report.

More. Click through these links to learn more about Face Coverings and Children and the Science of Masks.

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