Retailers urge all shoppers to wear facial coverings

Jul 9, 2020
Written by Robert B. Haase, Director of Communications

Washington Retail has joined a coalition with other major employers statewide to urge the public to wear facial coverings to save lives and protect jobs during the COVID-19 economic recovery period.

The coalition of groups representing retail, restaurants, construction, manufacturing and other industries has come together as the number of COVID-19 cases has again begun to increase across the state.

“As retailers across the state are reopening their doors, the need to protect our communities from the spread of the virus has never been more important,” said Renée Sunde, President & CEO of the Washington Retail Association. “Wearing a mask will not only protect your health and that of others but the livelihoods of thousands of employees and small business owners in your community. Beating this disease to reclaim the lives we treasure truly does depend on all of us.”

The business campaign to wear a mask comes as Governor Jay Inslee issued a mandatory order to wear a mask in public that went into effect Tuesday of this week. Businesses are required to turn away customers who aren’t wearing facial coverings of their choice.

“We’re doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state,” Inslee said. “The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shut down the economy.”

Go here to read more details about the Governor’s order regarding facial coverings.

Though the state can levy fines or close a business that doesn’t comply, Inslee has said he is confident that businesses will comply and that there will not be a need for enforcement.

A newly published study by a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M professor found that not covering your face in public dramatically increases a person’s chance of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. Inslee and the business coalition hope that increased wearing of facial coverings will flatten the rise in COVID-19 cases and thereby enable the Governor’s phased reopening of businesses to continue.

Besides Washington Retail, the coalition in support of wearing face coverings includes:

  • Association of Washington Business
  • AGC of Washington
  • Building Industry Association of Washington
  • Ethnic Business Coalition
  • Independent Businesses Association
  • Washington Bankers Association
  • Washington Food Industry Association
  • Washington Hospitality Association
  • Washington Realtors Association
  • Washington State Farm Bureau