New Whatcom County directive asks people to wear face masks in public

New Whatcom County directive asks people to wear face masks in public
JENA, GERMANY - APRIL 03: Self-sewn protective face masks in a fabric store on April 3, 2020 in Jena, Germany. A three-part city ordinance is going into effect requiring people to wear protective face masks under circumstances that include shopping, riding public transport and workplaces where social distancing is difficult. A face mask requirement is a current issue of controversy across Germany, with the federal government so far declining to make wearing one in public mandatory. Germany is struggling with a shortage of face masks, and the requirement in Jena also allows the use of scarves and other materials to shield one's face as a means to reduce the risk of anyone infected with Covid-19 from infecting others. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — The health officer for Whatcom County issued a directive asking people to wear face coverings when in public spaces.

Whatcom County joins King County in urging the use of masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

The new directive goes into effect May 22.

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Masks should be worn in retail stores, food businesses and restaurants, public transportation and manufacturing, agriculture and construction workplaces. They should also be worn while outside if proper social distancing cannot be maintained.

Dr. Stern, the health director for the county, said limiting virus transmission is especially important as more workplaces and businesses reopen in the coming months.

“Wearing a face covering alone isn’t protection against COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Stern. “People should wear face coverings to help slow the spread of the virus in the community, to protect others. Masks will protect other people from you, and when others cover their faces, they’re doing their part to protect you from them.”

The directive does not apply to children under 2 and those with physical disabilities that make wearing a mask difficult. There are no legal repercussions for not complying with the directive.