Washington is the last state to order masks in public

The rule, which will take effect on Friday, will require masks in any interior public space, as well as outside if social distancing cannot be maintained. Any facial covering that fits over the nose and mouth will be allowed.

“I think of these facial covers, in a sense, as a statement,” Inslee said during a press conference announcing the rule. “It is a statement that when you use it, it means you care about people, because it means you want to reduce the risk of infecting another person.”

The move makes Washington the last state that requires people to wear masks when they are in public. Washington is among the 25 states in the United States that, as of Tuesday, are experiencing a higher rate of new cases compared to last week.

Nationwide, more than 2.3 million people have been infected with coronavirus and nearly 121,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Public health officials have emphasized the importance of covering their faces in the midst of the reopening of the country, since people without symptoms could transmit Covid-19 without knowing it. The coatings are mainly to prevent people with the virus from infecting others.

Previous guidance from US officials did not recommend widespread masking, but in April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA They recommended covering the face of the general public in places where it is difficult to maintain social distance, such as grocery stores.

At the time, the CDC cited mounting evidence that people could transmit the coronavirus without feeling sick.
However, President Donald Trump has tried to politicize the wearing of masks, refusing to wear one during factory visits and even sharing a tweet taunting former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing one at a Memorial Day ceremony.

“I don’t think I’m going to do it,” Trump said during a press conference in April. “With a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I just don’t see it.”

Inslee touted the masks Tuesday as “something that is inexpensive, readily available, allows us to do our business and have fun, which can actually save people’s lives.”

Until a vaccine is developed, he said, “this will really be our best defense.”