Spokane Health Officer Requires Mask Use In Many Public Places

May 20, 2020

Spokane's health officer is requiring residents to wear masks in many public spaces, though he says the directive won't be enforced.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz today [Wednesday] issued an order that directs people wear masks when they enter public indoor areas.

“Not necessarily in open spaces, but in stores, if you’re going to be in a confined space where physical distancing is difficult, I am going to strongly recommend, I am going to say you must wear a mask."

"Now this is not enforceable, it’s just good practice because it’s me protecting you, it’s you protecting me. It’s all of us protecting each other as we go forward," he said.

Lutz says the health district is asking businesses to post signs encouraging customers to wear masks and to thank them for doing so.

He says there are exceptions: for example, very young children, people who would be at risk if they wear a mask, such as runners.  

“I really decided to provide this directive because I think, as we are opening, this is one other means by which we can keep Covid-19 at bay and keep each other healthy," he said.

On a related note, Lutz says there’s a chance the state could grant Spokane County, by this weekend, the variance it seeks to move to the next phase of reopening. The governor announced on Tuesday that the county is one of ten eligible to apply. Health district and county officials expected to submit an application to state Health Department as soon as today.