Businesses required to turn away customers without masks under expanded statewide order

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced a proclamation on Thursday that will legally require businesses to turn away customers who refuse to wear a mask. 

“Our cases are increasing statewide,” Inslee said, in reference to the order, which goes into effect Tuesday. 

Starting then, Washington businesses will have to adopt a “no mask, no service” policy.

Inslee referred to a recent spike in cases as “extremely troublesome.” According to health numbers shown by Inslee, Washington’s rate of infection has once again reached the peak first seen statewide in April.

The state hit a near all-time high on Wednesday, with an additional 618 cases reported. Secretary of Health John Wiesman said health officials are expected to report over 700 cases on Thursday.

In Spokane, the rate of infection has peaked dramatically. An additional 70 people tested positive for the virus on Thursday, bringing the total of confirmed cases closer to 1,500 in Spokane County. There are currently 19 residents hospitalized for the virus.

Inslee also announced the limit of bar services for counties currently in phase 3. Establishments will no longer be allowed to serve customers at counters within bars, though people will still be allowed to eat in other seating areas.

“We don’t have to be a firefighter or a nurse to save lives,” said Inslee. “We can do it by simply wearing a mask.”

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