‘I think it should be now’: Mayor Nadine Woodward reacts to Gov. Inslee’s mask date change

SPOKANE, Wash. — Masks are coming off a little more than a week earlier than originally scheduled. Governor Jay Inslee moved the date up to March 12. However, local leaders say it should be now.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new mask guidance on February 25. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward agrees with the changes. She believes Gov. Inslee should follow the new guidelines the CDC released.

“If we’ve been following the CDC all along in this pandemic, let’s continue to follow their guidelines and their updated protocols and lift the mask mandate now for Spokane County, if you’re healthy,” Woodward said.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, the governor said the decision comes down to the CDC guidance and the epidemiology. Some of the factors include hospital capacity, admissions and new cases — all of which are dropping.

“We are confident that that decline will continue, which allows us to make a decision today to accelerate the day where our mask mandate for schools will be accelerated,” said Gov. Inslee.

The decision also comes back to where counties stand as a whole, based on the CDC guidelines. In the past, Gov. Inslee has lifted restrictions by county. This time he’s not doing that.

“Doing this on a county-by-county basis has not been helpful in the state of Washington so we want to move forward as a state at the appropriate time,” he explained.

Some counties, such as Okanogan and Grant, are at a high community level. The governor expects the high counties to drop to medium by March 12.

“It would be great if it was by county because then maybe then we could make the decisions for ourselves,” Woodward said. “I like having some control locally as opposed to statewide.”

Though the mayor doesn’t agree with when the mandate drops, she says she’s happy that it’s happening.

“I’m glad that the governor has reconsidered the date for when we can lift the mask mandate,” she explained. “I think it should be sooner. I think it should be now.”

RELATED: Washington to lift mask mandate earlier than previously announced

RELATED: Washington not requiring proof of vaccination at large events starting March 1