VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) – A new outdoor mask mandate took effect in Washington on Monday.
The mandate applies to everyone in Washington, regardless of vaccination status. It requires people to mask up at outdoor events where 500 people or more are in attendance.
As the mandate officially took effect in Washington, people enjoyed a walk mask-free at the Vancouver waterfront. Though the mandate doesn't apply to them in this outdoor setting, they say when the time comes - they don't mind masking up for a big outdoor event.
"I want this to go away, so I think we should all buckle down and do our part,” Sally Hansen said. “Whatever they ask of us we should just do it. Stop being such dorks."
Others said they would be prepared to wear them if asked.
"Masks are a nuisance,” Charlie Williamson of Vancouver said. “But I'm glad to wear them for protection of others and myself."
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Gov. Jay Inslee said though it is safer to be outside, they've still seen COVID-19 transmission at outdoor events.
The Watershed Music Festival in the Gorge this summer led to more than 200 COVID-19 infections on its own.
Within the last six weeks, five other outdoor events have led to widespread infections. Given those numbers, some people believe Gov. Inslee should have implemented a stricter mandate.
"I think that 500 is too high,” Jim Larson of Vancouver said. “They ought to go down."
While Inslee isn't a fan of masking, he says those who refuse to get vaccinated leave everyone else with no choice.
“Look I don’t think it’s a great thing you have to wear a mask when you go to a Husky game,” Inslee said. “I wish that were not so but the reason is because so many people have refused to become vaccinated.”
People FOX 12 spoke with in Vancouver share the governor’s frustration.
"Especially children who cannot get vaccinated, you'll make them safe too,” Chris Williamson said. “By not getting vaccinated, you're putting children in danger."
FOX 12 did hear from some people who say the expanded mandate is an unnecessary precaution for those who are vaccinated.
According to the state health department, 67% of Washington residents are fully vaccinated as of Sept. 7.