Frequently Asked Questions
Staying home is still the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but face coverings, along with proper physical distancing, can help to significantly stem the spread. Now that many counties are partially reopened it’s critical that people wear masks and practice physical distancing in public.
There are three public orders that combine to emphasize the importance of wearing masks and to encourage people to wear them in public places. When more Washingtonians wear face coverings in public the combined effect can greatly reduce transmission of COVID-19 from person to person, saving lives and helping us open the economy safely and wisely.
The workplace order: Washington employers are required to ensure workers are wearing face coverings at work in almost all situations. Employers must provide face coverings if workers do not have them; employers are responsible to comply with this order, and the Department of Labor & Industries enforces it.
The general public order: This order from the secretary of health requires Washingtonians, with some exceptions, to wear face coverings in public spaces (indoors in most situations, and outdoors when proper physical distancing can’t be maintained). People are individually responsible to comply with this order.
The governor’s order for customers in businesses: This order from Governor Jay Inslee says businesses cannot allow customers to enter their premises without face coverings. Other accommodations can be offered for customers who cannot wear masks. Businesses, with the help of local law enforcement if needed, are responsible to comply with this order.