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Starting on June 26, Washington state’s Safe Start Plan now requires everyone to wear face masks while in public to help stop the spread of Covid-19. That order will expand this week to say that businesses will no longer be able to serve customers who are not wearing masks.

In general, a face covering is cloth that covers your nose and mouth. Under the new state requirement, it can either be homemade or factory made. The covering can be as simple as a bandana folded a few times and tied around your head or as sophisticated as your sewing skills allow.

Washington State is now providing free face masks for low-income residents. Find out more information here.

We have compiled some information to help you understand the new order and comply with it.

The Order

The requirement specifies that individuals should wear a face covering in indoor spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can’t stay 6 feet from others.

People with certain disabilities or health conditions, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 2 are exempt from the law. A face mask is not required in your home, while driving alone in your car, or while recreating outside apart from other people.

The Benefits

The Centers for Disease Control recommends face masks be worn to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling from person to person by sneezing, coughing, talking or raising their voice. The recommendation is based on what is known about how the virus is spread and clinical and laboratory studies that show face coverings reduce the spray of droplets.

Covid-19 is known to spread among people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so face masks are particularly important when people are close to each other and social distancing is difficult to maintain.

More Information About Face Masks

The Centers for Disease Control has extensive information on the importance of face masks, who should and who should not wear them, how to wear masks and how to make them.

The Washington State Department of Health also provides information on face masks, including information about why it’s important, guidance for businesses, graphics and videos, and how to make them.

How to Make a Mask

Masks can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, fleece and linen. One of the simplest ways is to make a folded bandana covering. You start by folding a bandana so that you have four layers of fabric (fold in half once and then fold in half again). Then slip two hair ties over each end, and fold the two ends into the middle. Voilá! Instant face mask!

Local resident Lisa Robinson offers this easy-to-follow tuturial on how to sew a face mask.

Here are mask instructions provided by the state Lt. Governor’s Office.

Good Housekeeping offers this easy-to-sew face mask video.

We also have these books in our online resources that you can check out with your library card.

DIY Homemade Washable & Reusable Cotton Face Masks (Overdrive)

Face Mask (Overdrive)

Face Mask Pattern for Kids (Hoopla)

Medical Face Mask Pattern to Wear Against Virus and Disease (Hoopla)

Stay Informed!

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