New normal: face masks are mandatory in Washington State

All around the country, and around our state too, the curve is un-flattening. Let's try to stop that right now.

June 26, 2020
John and Dawson wearing masks

As of Friday, June 26, face coverings are mandatory statewide whenever you're in a public indoor space, or if you're outdoors in a situation where it's impossible to maintain a 6-foot separation between you and your fellow humans.

The official word from the governor's office says:

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“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us. Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses. The science is clear that when we use face coverings, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze. While some of us are wearing face coverings in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Washington's strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if, together, we act safely and follow health recommendations."

I know there are people who disagree with the whole idea of face masks. Maybe you're one of them.

All I can tell you is that everything I've read has convinced me that if everybody did their part, we could wrap this whole thing up more quickly.

The scientists and the epidemiologists say that if we'd started masking up earlier in the timeline of this pandemic, thousands of lives would've been spared. That may seem kind of abstract at this point, but if you had lost, say, a family member to the virus in March, you might be more of a believer, especially as the infection rate -- and the death rate -- starts to climb in the wake of "opening up" various parts of the country, and our state.

Almost all of us go along with one government mandate or another and enjoy the benefits of the safety it gives us: Seatbelts, bike helmets, flotation devices on boats, car seats for our kiddos . . . . so why is this so different for people?

Is it because the act of you wearing a mask isn't for your protection; it's for my protection?

Are we that selfish that we're fine with safety rules as long as it's our own safety we're talking about, but as soon as we're asked to look out for the greater good it's too much of an infringement on our personal freedom? 

Well, I'll tell you my selfish angle on this whole thing: During the first month or two of the shutdown, I tried diligently to home school my son. It was not too successful. I didn't like it, he didn't like it, and he knew I didn't like it. Let's just say it wasn't an atmosphere that was conducive to learning.

The early word on Seattle schools opening in the fall is that if the state has made it to Phase 4, they'll open as normal. Anything short of Phase 4 and we may be looking at a combination of in-person school and remote learning at best. I really don't want to go through anything like that again.

I realize it's not as much of a hardship as getting sick myself, or losing a friend or loved one to the virus, but it's one way this pandemic has had a negative effect on my life and my family.

So . . . the simple truth is this: if we all wear masks, we can stop the spread of this virus. (That's science. In other words, fact.)

If we stop the spread of the virus, then my son can return to a classroom in September.

By refusing to wear a mask, you're messing me up and depriving my soon-to-be third-grader of a quality education.

I'm begging you not to do that.

And now for the shameless plug:

If you want to buy a mask that does what masks are supposed to do, that is beautiful, and has the added benefit of contributing to the Washington State Nurses Association, an organization that helps provide education and resources that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients, then we've got the mask for you right here on this website.

Check out the 94.1 The Sound face mask and buy a couple.


John and Dawson wearing masks