Some people wore face masks when the city of Enumclaw recently had a “downtown cruise” where people drove around downtown to order food from local restaurants. RAY MILLER-STILL, Enumclaw Courier-Herald

Some people wore face masks when the city of Enumclaw recently had a “downtown cruise” where people drove around downtown to order food from local restaurants. RAY MILLER-STILL, Enumclaw Courier-Herald

King County health officer directs residents to use face coverings

At indoor public settings, outdoors where social distancing is difficult

  • Monday, May 11, 2020 4:12pm
  • News

Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin on Monday issued a Health Officer Directive for the public to use face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 illness.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor A. Jenny Durkan joined Duchin in support of the decision.

The Directive, effective on May 18, declares that all individuals at indoor or confined outdoor public settings are strongly urged to use face coverings over their nose and mouth, according to a Public Health – Seattle & King County news release.

Wearing a face covering can help prevent the spread of infection to others by blocking infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes and speaks. Individuals can be infected and contagious before or even without developing symptoms. Evidence suggests a significant number of infections may be transmitted in this way.

Because face masks such as N95 respirators continue to be reserved for health care workers, residents should use fabric coverings such as cloth masks, scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips on how to make your own cloth face covering

The Directive applies to both workers and patrons of groceries, pharmacies, big box stores, and other essential establishments, including pet supplies, auto repairs, and home improvement stores. Restaurants with carry-out and food delivery must comply as well. Face coverings do not need to be worn outside unless appropriate social distancing cannot be practiced, such as at farmers markets.

Exceptions to the Health Directive include children, people with disabilities, deaf individuals who use facial movements as part of communication, and others. Health Officer Directives are based on individual compliance by the public; there is no penalty for not wearing a face covering.

The Directive will be in effect until it is no longer needed and rescinded by Duchin.

Constantine also announced that operators and riders on King County Metro will be required to wear face coverings. Metro operators will not prevent passengers without face coverings from boarding, but recorded reminders will play on Metro vehicle public address systems informing riders of the face covering policy. Security officers will communicate public health guidance to riders who are not wearing a face covering or not staying apart from other passengers.

King County is distributing 115,000 face coverings and masks through community-based organizations. The City of Seattle is working with community-based organizations to distribute over 45,000 cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities, including people experiencing homelessness, older adults and staff at food banks. Community partners are identifying eligible people based off their existing client lists.

As of May 10, 7,046 King County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 498 have died due to COVID-19 illness, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
Open seat on East Bellevue Community Council

Applications are due by Friday, July 24

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Free masks at the Bellevue Salvation Army. Courtesy photo
Free mask pickup for Bellevue residents

New dates and times for mask distribution this week

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Most Read