Serving Franklin County, WA

Gov. Inslee eases some COVID-19 edicts

No more masks outdoors after Feb. 18

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday, Feb. 9, backed off some of his coronavirus mandates during a press conference.

Inslee announced he is ending his call-up of the Washington National Guard, will allow non-emergent surgeries to resume and cut back on mask requirements.

“We are lifting our outdoor masking requirements by Feb. 18,” he said. “Today is not the day to lift all of our masking requirements.”

The governor said he’ll make a decision on ending all mask mandates and make a related announcement next week.

“The day is coming very soon when we will not have a broad mask mandate for indoor public spaces or our schools,” he said. “People are entirely free to continue to wear masks, should they desire to do so.”

Elective surgeries will be allowed to resume Feb. 17, he said.

According to the governor, his “transition” is because the number of COVID-19 cases are declining.

“We believe this wave is gone up like a rocket and is going to come down like a rock,” he said, saying caution must still be observed for the time being.

Inslee’s about-face on his mandates follows decisions in several other states to end restrictions. It also comes as much of Eastern Washington ignores his orders.

“We don’t make decisions based on social or internet culture wars over masks,” he said. “We did not require masks for symbolism; we require them because they work.”

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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