How authorities will be enforcing the mask requirement

SPOKANE, Wash. – Masks will be required in Washington Friday. It’s a requirement that some aren’t too happy about, and others feel like it’s too late.

Health officials are strongly urging people to follow it so that Spokane County can move to Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan.

“It’s the selfless behavior versus the selfish behavior,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County’s health officer, about people choosing to wear face coverings.

Walking in Riverfront Park Wednesday around noon, Thomas Foster was seen walking around with his mask on. He feels the same way about those who don’t want to wear face coverings in public.

“They’re really inconsiderate to others, even arrogant. The small child in me saying ‘Oh, I don’t want to wear a mask because it’s uncomfortable.’ Well, get over it,” he said.

Foster drives to and from Pend Orielle County to Spokane for work for two hours a day.

“I can’t afford to be sick and I see all these people running around without masks,” he said.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee issues statewide proclamation requiring Washington residents to wear masks

He wears a mask so that he can work.

“I’m a single earner. If i don’t make money, I have to just use savings, and I can’t – I don’t want to afford that,” he told 4 News Now.

Some people say they won’t wear one unless they have to. That time is coming.

“I don’t feel like I have to wear one until I have to,” Evan Guthrie told 4 News Now as he was walking in the park with his friends. “Starting Friday, you’ll see me with a mask on.”

The Spokane Police Department, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Dr. Bob Lutz all said they want to educate people before enforcing the law. Lutz said he wants people to wear masks out of respect for others.

“Shaming people for not wearing masks, law enforcement enforcing not wearing face coverings, that’s heavy handed. I hope it doesn’t have to go that way. I hope people realize that little selfless behavior goes a long way,” he said.

People who violate the health officer order repeatedly, with law enforcement documenting those instances, can face a misdemeanor charge.

Dr. Lutz said the only way Spokane County can move forward to phase 3 is if he sees trends decline, and that would be tough without people following some rules.

“It’s uncomfortable but it’s the slightest price to pay for your health,” Foster said.

RELATED: Spokane’s top health officer says County still is not ready for Phase 3

RELATED: Spokane County, GSI to provide free PPE for small businesses