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New King County Public Health Directive to Wear Face Coverings

May 11, 2020 - Starting on Monday, May 18, King County residents are directed by the County Health Officer to wear face coverings in most public settings. The directive includes both indoor settings such as grocery stores, retail and other businesses, and also outdoors when it’s difficult to maintain six feet of separation from others. While face coverings do not replace proper hand hygiene or social distancing as protection measures, they can help to protect others and slow the spread of COVID-19 by blocking infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or speaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define cloth face coverings as including cloth masks, scarves and bandanas, or any well-fitting homemade fabric face covering. The CDC also makes clear that cloth face coverings should: include multiple layers of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape. Make sure you are using and wearing your mask properly.

Employees of restaurant take-out and other food businesses, who prepare, carry out, and deliver food are also strongly urged to wear masks. Users of buses, light rail, and other forms of public transportation are also asked to wear masks.

The Health Officer’s Directive relies on individual compliance; there is no penalty for not wearing a mask, and there will not be police enforcement. Face coverings are not directed to be worn when exercising outdoors (for example, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running), if appropriate social distancing is possible.

Learn more from Public Health – Seattle & King County.


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