Virus Outbreak Washington

Gaye Scheel, left, and Kari Roberts wear masks as they walk Tuesday along Ruston Way in Tacoma.

OLYMPIA — Washington state will require people to wear facial coverings in public settings, under a statewide public health order announced by Gov. Jay Inslee in response to ongoing COVID-related health concerns.

The order, issued by Secretary of Health John Wiesman, takes effect Friday. The order requires face coverings when people are indoor in a public area, and outdoors in a public area when six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Washington joins several other states that already have statewide mask orders in place, including California, which issued its order last week.

A spokesman for Inslee said that violation of the statewide mask order is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Violation of the Yakima County proclamation is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

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