Inslee stresses mask-wearing in visit to Spokane
Last updated 6/25/2020 at 6:11pm
SPOKANE-Washington governor Jay Inslee paid a visit to Spokane today (June 25) to meet with essential workers, members of the medical community, local leaders and media. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Spokane County, Inslee’s message was clear: wear a mask.
Masks will be mandated by law to be worn statewide in public places beginning June 26.
Inslee noted that there is reason for concern about the spread of the virus in Spokane County.
“Spokane is right on the verge of a very dire situation because of this pandemic,” Inslee said. “What we’re seeing is a relatively dramatic increase in the virus in Spokane County … Spokane is on the edge of a cliff, and it’s about to fall over if we don’t get on top of this pandemic.”
The governor noted a slogan that came up in previous meetings today: “100% masks means 100% businesses getting open.” Inslee said the state wants to re-open businesses in Spokane, but to do so, masks must be worn to help “wrestle this virus down.”
Doing so shows that individuals care about the importance of avoiding spreading the virus to other people, according to Inslee.
“A cloth mask is not so much a sign that you care about yourself,” Inslee said. “It’s about showing that you care about other people.”
Inslee added that he doesn’t want the wearing of masks to be a politically divisive issue, saying the idea shouldn’t be political at all.
“This should not be something that should be a partisan issue at all,” Inslee said. “Both Democrats and Republicans can die of this virus, and both Democrats and Republicans care about people around them.”
Spokane County is in Phase 2 of the governor’s state re-opening plan. To move forward a phase, Inslee said health officials look for an infection rate no more than 25 positive cases per 100,000. Right now, Spokane County is double that, at 49.9 per 100,000.
The governor said he hopes that people follow the mask mandate on their own without law enforcement or other authorities having to step in.
“You shouldn’t have to have a police officer following you around to get you to follow the law,” Inslee said. “So we think people will adapt to this and adhere to this.”
The governor added that while rural counties around Spokane County are soon to be eligible for Phase 4 of the re-opening plan, such as Lincoln County, there is some concern with such a measure due to people traveling back and forth across county lines.
Inslee did share optimism about Spokane County’s ability to “mask up” and stop the spread of COVID-19.
“This is a community that can really pull together,” Inslee said. “When it pulls together, really great things can happen.”
The governor said he understands that people are tired of the guidelines surrounding the virus.
“The best way to not be tired about it is to beat it,” Inslee said. “We have the capability to beat it.”
Drew Lawson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.