Beginning Friday, June 26, every Washingtonian will be required to wear a facial covering when in a public space. The order, announced by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this week, was signed Tuesday by John Wiesman, Secretary of Health for the state of Washington. The mask mandate includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces.
There are exemptions for people with medical conditions or under the age of two. In addition, individuals may remove face coverings under certain circumstances, including while eating or drinking at a restaurant; while communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing; and while outdoors in public areas, provided that a distance of six feet is maintained.
For those Eastern Washington University faculty and staff who returned to the Cheney campus following Phase 2 reopening, the new requirements will not change masking and social distancing guidance already in place: Face masks or cloth facial coverings will continue to be required for every employee not working alone, and for those in public settings where social distancing measures are hard to maintain.
Visitors to the Cheney campus will also be required to wear masks, and will continue to have only limited access to campus buildings and facilities.
The new mask mandate comes at a time of rising coronavirus infections, a situation that Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has called a “disturbing surge.” In Spokane County, the regional health district on June 23 reported 53 new cases, the second-highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic. Tuesday’s tally pushed the county’s total number of confirmed cases to more than 1,000. More than half of these cases have been identified following Spokane County’s transition to Phase 2 reopening measures.
In his news release to the media on Tuesday, Secretary of Health Wiesman said wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent models, he added, show that the incidence of coronavirus cases can be reduced if the majority of the population are wearing masks. This correlation has been seen in other countries that have been able infection rates through mask usage.
To help minimize the risk of potential exposure on EWU’s Cheney campus, the university’s office of Risk, Compliance and Procurement has developed an online form to provide an easy method for reporting a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or for reporting close contact with a person who has contracted the virus.
You can learn more about the masking order, order a university-supplied reusable cloth mask and gain access to additional information about Eastern’s pandemic-related policies, by visiting EWU’s COVID-19 resource page. EWU employees in need of a mask can also contact their supervisor for assistance.
#EagleStrong Face Masks Available Soon!
Show your pride and support Eastern students while wearing your #EagleStrong cloth face mask. Proceeds from sales of these limited-edition masks will benefit the Student Crisis Care Fund. The fund provides wrap-around services in response to student health and wellness needs.
Masks are $25 (plus tax and shipping) and are expected to be available for purchase in early July from the EWU Eagle Store online. Visit the EWU Community Strong page to get first dibs, just fill out the registration form and we’ll alert you as soon as the masks are available.
Alumni registering for EWU Day at Silverwood on Friday, August 7, can add a mask to their order for pick up at the event.