Statewide outdoor mask mandate now in effect

The new and expanded mask mandate went into effect statewide Monday. Now anyone attending outdoor events with 500 or more people will be required to mask up.

This comes after some local communities, including King County, already have a similar mandate in place.

Some people don’t like it one bit. However, they were reluctant to say that on camera. But many more people said they believe the masks are necessary to fight the Delta variant.

Bella Walker didn’t come to the Auburn Farmer’s Market on this overcast Sunday to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But the 14-year-old from Covington decided to get one anyway at this pop-up clinic.

He said he was eager to get vaccinated.

“I believe it will make it safer for me to go places,” said Bella. “And it makes it safe for other people too.”

He is getting the shot a day before the latest mandate from the governor goes into effect, requiring masks outdoors in crowded spaces. So we asked her mother what she thinks of that.

“This virus is spreading like wildfire,” Maggie Walker said. “And anything we can do to stop it is fine with me.”

The new mandate requires everyone at least 5 years old to wear a mask outdoors when in areas that have more than 500 people. The rule applies whether individuals are vaccinated or not.

“The vaccine, from what I read this morning, is adequate to beat the delta variant,” said James Sketoe.

The Des Moines man believes the renewed mandate is overkill, especially with a healthy majority in King County already vaccinated.

“Where is the science in this question, in this order?” he asked. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s a science denier. Despite that, he thinks that he’s following the science. But he isn’t.”

But a registered nurse at this West Seattle pop-up clinic said she believes the statewide mask mandate and the federal vaccine mandates are having a direct impact.

“People are coming down,” said Kimberly McCloud. “They’re getting vaccinated, and that’s really all that matters. It’s a great thing, yeah.”

Some are willing to wear masks while among an outdoor crowd too.

“As long as there are so many people around, I think it’s better to stay safe and keep others safe,” said Donilla Odera of Auburn, “and protect yourself.”

The expanded mask mandate went into effect Monday. An earlier indoor mask mandate remains in place. And the governor said last week he is not ruling out another mandate regarding vaccines.