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Do I have to wear a mask? Every person in Washington State must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are outside of their house, mobile home, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, subject to the exceptions below.
ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AMENDING ORDER 20-03
Face Coverings - Statewide
WHEREAS, Washington State Governor Jay lnslee has issued Proclamation 20-05, subsequently amended and extended, proclaiming a statewide State of Emergency due to an outbreak of coronavirus disease 201 9 (COVID-19) in the United States and community spread of COVID-J 9 in Washington State; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratoty droplets when infected people, many of whom do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, cough, sneeze, or talk, and evidence suggests that wearing a cloth face covering reduces an infected person's chance of spreading the infection to others and may protect uninfected persons from larger droplets from infected people around them; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Health, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the World Health Organization recommend that, in addition to their recommendations to maintain six feet of physical distance from non-household members and wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, people wear cloth face coverings when they are in public settings where they cannot reliably maintain six feet of distance from others at all times, given the substantial increase in the numbers of cases of COVID-19 infection, these precautions must be mandatory; and
WHEREAS, although many Washingtonians already regularly wear face coverings when in public, requiring all Washingtonians to wear cloth face coverings in public will help control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Washington State; and
WHEREAS, the worldwide COVJD-1 9 pandemic and its progression in Washington State continue to constitute an emergency threatening the safety of the public health, demanding action by the Secretary of Health, and only a small number of Washington' s local health officers have issued orders requiring the general public in their jurisdictions to wear cloth face coverings in public; and
WHEREAS, on June 24, 2020, I issued Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03 directing every person in Washington State to wear a face cove1ing when in any indoor or outdoor public setting, subject to certain exceptions; and
WHEREAS, for the same reasons stated above, requi1ing people to wear face coverings when they are outside their house, mobile home, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, bedroom in a congregate living setting, or other dwelling unit will also help control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Washington State.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Wiesman, Washington State Secretary of Health, as a result of the above-noted situation, and under RCW 43.70.130, RCW 70.05.070, WAC 246-100-036, and any other applicable authority, do hereby amend Order 20-03 and order as follows:
Every person in Washington State must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are outside of their house, mobile home, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, subject to the exceptions below.
- If a person lives in a congregate living setting where they share living facilities with other residents, their dwelling unit is their bedroom. They must wear a face covering when they are outside their bedroom, including inside the building, subject to the exceptions below.
- Congregate living settings include, but are not limited to, fraternity, sorority, boarding, and other similar shared houses, dormitory buildings, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family homes, other long-term care facilities, group care facilities, and other similar settings.
- Unless listed above, congregate living settings do not otherwise include houses, mobile homes, apartments, condominiums, hotel or motel rooms, supported living homes, state-operated living alternatives, state-owned psychiatric hospitals, or psychiatric residential treatment facilities.
- A bedroom includes any living space, bathroom, or facility attached to the bedroom that is not generally open to the other residents of the congregate living setting.
- Non-family members who live together in congregate living settings are not household members. "Family member" means an aunt, child, cousin, grandchild, grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or uncle, whether biological, adoptive, step, foster, de facto, in loco parentis, or by guardianship
- Every person must wear a face covering in both public and non-public settings outside of their home, including, but not limited to, in outdoor areas, businesses, government buildings, healthcare settings, public transportation, elevators, hallways, stairways, parking garages, kitchens, lounges, lobbies, storage areas, garbage/recycling areas, and laundry rooms.
Individuals may remove their face coverings when they are outside of their house, mobile home, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit under the following circumstances:
- While engaged in the act of eating or drinking, provided that: o People eating or drinking in congregate living settings maintain a distance of at least six feet from each other to the extent reasonably possible; and
- People eating or drinking in other settings outside of a home maintain a distance of at least six feet from non-household members;
- While engaged in indoor or outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, provided that a distance of at least six feet is maintained from non-household members, except that face covering requirements for individuals engaged in team sports activities and in some other exercise activities, including training at fitness training facilities, are governed by the requirements issued by the Governor;
- While in an outdoor area, provided that a distance of at least six feet is maintained from non household members;
- While showering, bathing, or engaging in other personal hygiene or grooming activities that require the removal of the face covering;
- 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;
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of a face covering; and
- When unable to put on a face covering due to an emergency.
The following individuals are exempt from the requirements to wear a face covering:
- Children younger than five years old; and
- Children who are younger than two years old should never wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.
- Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering at all times in settings, like grocery stores or pharmacies, where it is likely that a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members and vulnerable people must go.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
For purposes of this order, a face covering must:
- Fit snugly against the sides of the face;
- Completely cover the nose and mouth;
- Be secured with ties, ear loops, elastic bands, or other equally effective method;
- Include at least one layer of cloth, although multiple layers are strongly recommended;
- Allow for breathing without restriction; and
- Be capable of being laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
A face covering may also be a mask or covering that provides a higher level of protection than a cloth face covering, such as an N95 mask, though people arc generally encouraged to use cloth face coverings to preserve access to these higher grade face coverings for health care and other settings where they are most needed.
Children in childcare facilities and K-12 public and private schools may use face shields as an alternative to a cloth face covering if authorized pursuant to an order of the Governor.
This order does not apply to persons who are incarcerated. Correctional facilities, as part of their Safe Start plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings or masks for both incarcerated individuals and staff.
Other agencies and officials have taken or may take action to require the wearing of face coverings in certain settings and jurisdictions and for certain purposes. Every person in Washington State must wear a face covering whenever legally required to do so by this order or by the action of any other agency or official. This order and the actions of other agencies and officials must be followed to the extent they are not in conflict.
If this order and the action of any other agency or official are in conflict, the more protective requirement must be followed, unless prohibited by a federal or state statute or rule. For example, this order a11ows individuals to remove their face coverings in outdoor public settings if they are able to maintain a distance of six feet from non-household members. If a local health officer issues an order requiring people to wear a face covering in outdoor public settings at all times, without an exception for physical distancing, then the local health officer's order must be followed because it is more protective than this order.
Any face covering requirement imposed pursuant to an order of the Governor must be followed, such as face covering requirements for employees.
This order shall take effect on July 25, 2020, and remain in effect until rescinded or superseded by a subsequent order of the Secretary of Health or until the Governor issues a proclamation declaring the termination of the State of Emergency declared by Proclamation 20-05, as amended and extended by subsequent amendatory proclamations, whichever is earlier.
Members of the public are required by law to comply with this order, and violators may be subject to enforcement pursuant to RCW 43.70.130(7), RCW 70.05.120(4), and WAC 246-100- 070(3).