Inslee says businesses will be legally required to enforce mandatory face coverings rule

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Gov. Jay Inslee said this afternoon businesses in Washington cannot legally serve customers who are not wearing masks.

He said his new “Mask Up, Open Up” initiative will go into effect Tuesday.

Inslee also ordered a two-week pause in counties advancing in his phased reopening plan. That means, Chelan and Douglas counties will remain in a modified version of Phase 1 for at least the next two weeks.

A “troublesome spike” in recent weeks in positive COVID-19 cases in the state led to the decision, he said.

Inslee said the increases in cases is not because of more people being tested, but because more people are getting sick.

Inslee announced June 23 that facial coverings would become mandatory in all public spaces. His announcement Thursday took that one step further by legally requiring businesses to enforce his order.

“We are taking these additional steps because we need more people to follow this rule for it to be effective,” Inslee said.