Effective yesterday (June 26, 2020), the Washington Department of Health has issued an emergency mask order for face coverings statewide (20-03). How will this impact your visit to Whidbey Island and our B&B?
The order states that: “Every person in Washington State must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in any indoor or outdoor public setting…”
There are numerous limits and exemptions to this requirement including when outdoors and you are able to maintain a distance of six feet or more. You may also remove your mask when seated for dining in a restaurant or anywhere food and beverage service is provided; when outdoors (provided you can maintain the six foot distance); when you are a party to communication with deaf or hard-of-hearing and when necessary to confirm identity. Of course persons with medical, health conditions, or a disability are exempted when wearing a mask when that condition could obstruct breathing.
The Blue Goose Inn is our private home and is not generally “open to the public”, so technically the statewide mandate does not apply inside a private home. However, as a courtesy to other guests, we request that when you are indoors to wear a mask when moving about in the common areas. You are also free to remove it when you are inside your guest room or seated at the breakfast tables during a meal. When visiting other indoor businesses in the area, please observe their mask requirements as they may be different than ours.
What kind of mask is required? The order says it needs to be a “cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth.” These masks are designed to contain water droplets that may be expelled during breathing, sneezing, coughing, talking, etc. These cloth masks protect those around you from contamination by these droplets, they are not designed to provide the wearer of the mask with any protection from a virus. Masks with exhaust ports or exhale valves, including respirators and N95 masks do not provide this containment. Disposable (surgical) masks are designed for short-term use in a sterilized environment and quickly clog-up if exposed to dust or pollen and if used should be limited to single use. Wearing any mask can also become a health hazard for the wearer if worn excessively or if not regularly changed, washed or sterilized, so you should be prepared to have a change of masks, just like you would want to have a change of clothes. The Blue Goose Inn does not provide these cloth face coverings, you should bring your own.
What about enforcement? The Island County Sherriff Rick Felici has made the following statement about enforcement of the statewide mask mandate:
“When deputies encounter people who are not complying with the governor’s order, we will remind them of the current restrictions and the reasons for them with a goal of education and voluntary participation as we all work to reduce the impact of this virus. We have no desire to arrest or ticket anyone for violations of the current restrictions.”
Read the full statewide mask order here: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/Secretary_of_Health_Order_20-03_Statewide_Face_Coverings.pdf
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