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caption: A sign at the entrance of the Hilltop Red Apple Market asks customers to wear a mask.
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A sign at the entrance of the Hilltop Red Apple Market asks customers to wear a mask.
Credit: Esmy Jimenez/KUOW News

Washington's new mask requirement is here. What does that mean for you?

Short answer: If you're already using your mask correctly, not much.

Starting today, a new Washington mandate says all individuals should wear a mask indoors (like at a restaurant, office, or grocery store) and while outdoors (like a park or beach) if 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

There's exceptions to that rule: People with health conditions or disabilities, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 2 don't have to wear a mask.

You don't have to wear a mask or face covering when you're at home, in your car, or exercising outdoors (but the state officials say, "It’s a good idea to keep one in your pocket, in case you come across other people you can’t stay six feet away from.") And if you're outdoors and alone, you also don't have to wear one.

caption: A customer from the Hilltop Red Apple Market walks in Beacon Hill on Friday June 26, 2020.
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A customer from the Hilltop Red Apple Market walks in Beacon Hill on Friday June 26, 2020.
Credit: Esmy Jimenez/KUOW News

If you don't follow the new rules, you could face misdemeanor charges or a maximum fine of $100 dollars and up to 90 days in jail.

A number of county sheriffs have said they will not be enforcing the new mask requirements, so how this new rule will play out in terms of efficacy and enforcement is to be determined.

Earlier this week, Washington state reached the highest number of new Covid-19 cases. Currently, there are around 30,000 positive cases in the state, and around 600 related deaths in King County alone.