Spokane Judo Club navigates new mask mandate

SPOKANE, Wash.– The return of indoor masking has been challenging for several close contact sports facilities.

The Spokane Judo Club is one of them. It’s had to make adjustments because of the mandate.

COVID-19 shut down the club for 15 months. It just reopened in May and nobody had to mask up because the mandate was lifted for vaccinated people.

“I think we’ve had a lot of difficulties understanding what exactly the rules are,” said head instructor Brett Lewis.

Lewis said trying to figure out what the mandate meant for the club was confusing.

“Trying to understand what exemptions there were, what exemptions and exceptions didn’t apply to us and double negative language,” Lewis said.

The mandate states people don’t need to wear masks if they’re playing recreational sports. However, the confusion comes because people doing dance, yoga or martial arts do need to mask up. Lewis said that is something difficult to do.

“You’re rolling around with someone on the mat and it’s close physical contact. The mask may come off. If it stays on you feel like you can’t breathe,” Lewis said.

Even though it’s hard, Lewis said they understand why the masks have to go back on.

“For the most part, they’ve been good because they want to do Judo and we want to go back to normal,” Lei Ghyamada, a sensi at Pacific Judo Academy said.

While everyone waits to see what happens next, they’re just happy to be doing judo again.

The Spokane Judo Club said it will do whatever it can to make sure its doors stay open.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee issues indoor mask mandate, required vaccinations for school workers