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Statewide face covering requirement for businesses takes effect today

FERNDALE, Wash. — On July 2nd, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced a statewide order directing businesses to require and enforce the use of face coverings by all customers or visitors.

This face covering order went into effect today, July 7th.

On June 26th, an order by Wiesman requiring face coverings be worn in inside and outside public spaces when unable to physically distance from others became a legal requirement.

Under the order that begins today, businesses may not serve any customer, services or goods if the customer is not in compliance with the June state-wide face covering order.

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Exemptions to the face covering requirement are provided, including for people with certain medical conditions and for children under the age of 2.

If a customer or visitor is not wearing a face covering, businesses should take the following steps:

A business representative or employee should politely educate the customer or visitor about the public health requirement to wear a mask or face covering. Businesses may choose to keep a supply of disposable masks to offer customers who do not have one.

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If the individual still declines to wear a mask or face covering, the business representative or employee should politely inquire as to whether the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask. Businesses CANNOT inquire about the details about a person’s specific medical condition or disability and CANNOT ask for proof or documentation.

For customers who are unable to wear a face covering, businesses are encouraged to offer some kind of accommodation for the customer such as curbside pickup, delivery or a scheduled appointment when physical distancing can be ensured.

If a customer or individual refuses to wear a face covering but does not have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask, they should be politely told that the business cannot serve them and that they need to leave the premises. Under no circumstances should the business representative attempt to physically block an individual from entering or physically remove them from the premises.

If the individual refuses to leave, the business representative should follow whatever procedures they normally follow if an individual refuses to leave the establishment when asked to do so (including contacting local law enforcement to indicate that the individual is trespassing).

Overview of COVID-19 Statewide Face Covering Requirements (July 7, 2020). Office of the Governor of Washington

According to Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Anya Milton, they have received a supply of masks from Whatcom Unified Command to be distributed for free to the local business community to provide employees and offer customers who do not have one. Milton said businesses need only contact the chamber to arrange pick up and there is no requirement to be a chamber member to receive masks.

Milton said the chamber is also participating in a county-wide campaign to provide window posters and decals explaining mask wearing policies at businesses. Businesses can download the graphics to print or they can request packets of printed posters and decals.

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