Coronavirus Update for June 11: Governor issues new rules for state employees and masks in the workplace

  • Employees may choose to wear their own face coverings at work.

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

Starting June 8, 2020, Governor Inslee’s Safe Start response to the COVID-19 pandemic is mandating that all employees in the state of Washington wear cloth face coverings, except when working alone in an office, vehicle or job site.  Wearing a face covering helps protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms.  There are some exceptions to this mandate, which includes communicating with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.   

Employers must provide cloth face coverings to their employees unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection.  Departments can order face coverings through the ESM Marketplace and the cost of face coverings will be borne by the requesting department.  Employees may choose to wear their own face coverings at work, provided it meets the requirements discussed below.   

Supervisors will need to ensure their employees always have a face covering with them because keeping at least a 6-foot distance may not always be possible.  This includes common areas, such as break rooms, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators.   

For departments who are considering a request to increase their presence on campus, the inclusion of face coverings for employee usage will be a required component of approved departmental safety plans. 

To wear your face covering correctly, you must: 

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering 

  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin 

  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face 

Make sure you can breathe easily. 

It’s important to remember that the use of cloth face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing requirements of at least 6 feet and other prevention measures such as washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.   

When we combine everyday protective measures, we do our part in protecting our community and minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19 at Western.   

For more information regarding cloth face coverings and masks, please see the resources below: 

CDC Website 
WA Department of Labor and Industries Guidance Document: Which mask for Which Task? 
WA State Coronavirus Response: Face Masks or Cloth Face Covering 

Thank you for your help to keep our campus healthy and safe. 

David Hansen, Associate Medical Director, Student Health Center 
Sue Sullivan, Director, Environmental Health and Safety 


The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19:  to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.

Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.

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Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 10:39am