‘No mask, no service’: Gov. Inslee announces proclamation requiring Yakima Co residents to wear masks

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee gave an update on what he’s calling a “desperate situation” in Yakima County, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.   

Yakima Valley has potentially the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the west coast, Inslee said Friday. 

In just last week, 26% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. Inslee said that spike wasn’t strictly because of more testing, but also community spread.

Currently 19% of hospital beds in Yakima are being used to treat COVID-19 patients. To put things into perspective, only 2.5% of hospital beds are in use statewide. 

Inslee says, if action isn’t taken, soon hospitals will be at maximum capacity and patients will be waiting for treatment.

As part of that action, Inslee said he will implement a proclamation requiring Yakima County residents to wear masks when in public. That mandate will go into effect next week, Inslee says.  

That means businesses will be legally required to not serve customers who refuse to wear a mask.  

“We have learned this is an approach that really does work,” Inslee said, in reference to the use of masks to curb the spread of the virus.

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