Everyone 5-years-old and older will be required to wear masks inside businesses, restaurants and government buildings starting Monday in Jefferson and Clallam counties.
The requirement stems from a new masking order that Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties, enacted Friday, with the mandate going into effect Monday.
Berry announced the order during a public briefing Friday morning (view the briefing at clallam.net/features/meetings.html under “Miscellaneous Meeting Recordings”).
People entering restaurants will be required to wear masks when heading to and from their table, but are able to remove their masks while at a table. However, they are encouraged to wear it while the server is at their table, Berry said in a phone interview Friday.
“The servers are exposed to a lot so anything we can do to minimize exposure is good,” Berry said.
Specific masks that people are encouraged to wear are cloth masks with at least two layers of fabric or the more protective blue surgical masks or KN95/N95 masks, according to the order.
Masks are not required but are recommended in outdoor settings where large groups are gathering together. Mask are also not required but recommended for children 2- to 5-years-old but not recommended for children younger than 2-years-old, Berry said.
An exception to the masking order is for employees of businesses and governments who are fully vaccinated and working within their own non-shared office or at their workstation while not interacting with other other employees or members of the public and if their workstation has six feet of physical distance from other people, according to the order.
The state is continuing to require that all students and employees of K-12 schools wear masks when instruction resumes for the upcoming school year. That requirement for schools is statewide and not up to the local jurisdictions, Gov. Jay Inslee has said, while recommending that all mask up indoors in public places.
The return to masking is due to the continued rapid surge in COVID-19 cases that both counties are experiencing due to the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19, that is now confirmed as the dominant strain of the virus circulating in the communities, Berry said.