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King County Encourages Face Masks In Public

Missy Nadvornick

Seattle and King County officials today [Monday] urged residents to wear face masks whenever they’re in indoor public spaces and not able to get proper distancing from others.

County Executive Dow Constantine says the goal is to protect workers in places where they come in close contact with customers.

"So what are we talking about? The grocery store, the pharmacy, the hardware store. Doing this is one more step we can take to help keep those essential workers at those businesses safe," Constantine said.

The directive doesn’t ask that people wear masks outside, unless, again, they’re in confined areas near others.

Constantine says the timing coincides with efforts by the state to allow some counties to move faster than others in allowing more freedom of movement and commerce.

In Spokane Monday morning, county Health Officer Bob Lutz didn’t rule out a similar declaration here.

“My concerns are probably consistent with what you have seen when you’re out and about. People are not necessarily abiding by the physical distancing guidelines. They are not wearing the masks the way they should. There is evidence that masks do make a difference," Lutz said. "The directive is certainly within my purview. It will be a conversation I have with my board of health."

Lutz tried to discourage Spokane County residents from traveling out of town, saying many outbreaks around the country have been imported by travelers carrying the virus.