VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) – Starting Monday, every Washingtonian, regardless of vaccination status, will have to wear masks in public indoor spaces.
Governor Jay Inslee made the announcement Wednesday, along with the requirement that all K-12 public school staff get vaccinated.
The universal mask mandate does not apply to public outdoor spaces, indoor office spaces or other workspaces not accessible to the public, and small private indoor gatherings where everybody is vaccinated.
While people aren't thrilled about the face covering requirement coming back, a local Vancouver business told FOX 12 they'll do what's needed to keep staff and the community safe.
"I'm not looking forward to it, but it has to be done," Locust Cider & Brewing general manager Gemma House said.
House opened her downtown Vancouver cider house just days before businesses shut down due to the pandemic last year. She said she's been through three rounds of furloughs with her staff.
"I don't want to go backwards," House said.
House and her staff have already been wearing masks indoors, citing Delta variant concerns as the reason why.
"At this point there hasn't been enough vaccinations to keep myself and my staff safe, so if that's what we need to do to move forward, I'm all for it," House said.
She told FOX 12 she's not looking forward to having to enforce the rules inside her business again come Monday, saying there are always "a few" customers who push back.
"We will ask people to please put their mask on,” she said. “If they don't want to put one on, they can order from outside."
Bonnie Little, who lives in Vancouver, said she won't need any extra encouragement to put her mask on. In fact, she says she's been wearing her facial covering anywhere indoors outside of her home for weeks now.
"I think it's really about us caring for each other," Little said.
Little said her father, who is 91, recently tested positive for COVID-19 even though he's been vaccinated.
"It's not about control,” Little told FOX 12. “It's about responsibility for our parents, our children, our aunts and uncles, our teachers."
Not everybody agrees. Many negative comments started pouring into the FOX 12 Facebook page after Gov. Inslee's announcement.
"Your freedoms are slowly but surely being taken away," one person wrote.
Another said, "these tyrants need to go home."