STATE NEWS: Inslee says to ‘Wear a mask, Washington’

(RICK BANNAN/Centralia Chronicle)

Governor announces new initiative while speaking on efforts to secure PPE in the State…

In an effort to get more Washingtonians wearing facial coverings in public while the state reopens its businesses and gatherings, Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a new “Wear a Mask Washington” initiative set on moving people to take part to prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

During a press conference Wednesday, June 10, the governor announced the initiative, which features a social media campaign intended to raise awareness on wearing a mask. The governor said the initiative was important based on findings he said showed areas hit harder by COVID-19 spread were places with less use of masks in public.

“It’s clear now that wearing a facial covering is one of the easiest and most effective things we can do to protect people — our loved ones, our neighbors, our co-workers, our fellow shoppers — from this deadly virus,” Inslee said.

He added the more Washingtonians wearing masks could also lead to faster reopening of businesses, outside of the strictly health-related benefits.

Inslee said the initiative was a partnership with Restart Partners, a nonprofit that collaborates with state and local governments to help push the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in those jurisdictions. As part of the initiative, he asked Washingtonians to make videos of themselves answering “why do you wear a mask” and posting them to social media with the hashtag #wearamaskwa.

Inslee said he looked forward to seeing what Washingtonians would come up with for their videos, calling Washington “the most creative state in the United States.”

“Any state that gave us Jimi Hendrix can give us great videos in this regard,” Inslee said.

Apart from the new initiative, Inslee spoke about the state’s broader efforts in securing PPE as social interactions and businesses continue again in some parts of the state.

Inslee said that China-based BYD received final certification on their production of N95 respirator masks, a type of PPE that had been “all but impossible to obtain” at the levels needed since the COVID-19 crisis began, adding that the state had 5 million of the masks “on-hand” with another 50 million on order from the company.