Dear Neighbors,

Over the past weeks, I have attended protests, marches, and rallies all over our district and King County, while wearing my mask and practicing social distancing. I have met with community members impacted by police violence as well as with law enforcement officers, and I have responded to so many of you who have reached out to me. I am listening to the stories, tracking data, and working with my colleagues to craft legislation that reflects your voices. I have been especially inspired and impressed by the sheer volume of young people who have reached out to me, who are standing up for justice, and who are demanding change. I want to continue the conversation with the young people of our district and would like to invite you to attend a youth town hall on criminal justice reform. It will be over Zoom, at 2 pm on July 14. You can sign up here.

King County moves to Phase 2

In Phase 2, social gatherings may be held with five or fewer people outside your household. Restaurants can reopen at less than 50% capacity, and retailers at less than 30% capacity. Businesses must follow state guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. These include social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing cloth masks. You can read more about Phase 2 here, and you can find the guidelines for businesses and employees here.

Mask Up, Washington

Despite the progress we have made, we are seeing a worrisome uptick in coronavirus cases across Washington. Recent research suggests that one of the best ways to reduce transmission is by wearing cloth face masks. The masks protect other people from getting the virus from us when we talk, cough or sneeze.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still be a danger to others. Between 20% and 40% of people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms but can still spread the virus. Wearing masks in public places helps protect everyone you meet and is a crucial way to allow for safe reopening of economic activity.

That’s why the governor has issued a statewide mandate for mask-wearing in public. There are exemptions for people with some health conditions or disabilities and people who are deaf or hard of hearing. And there are times when you can remove your mask, like when eating at a restaurant. You also do not need to wear a mask when you are alone or only with the members of your household, or when you are outdoors and six feet from other people.

Until a vaccine or cure is developed, masks will be our best defense.

This mask rule is like the speed limits on our roads—it’s about preventing reckless behavior that can hurt others. Please do your part to protect our community.

Sincerely yours,

Sen. Manka Dhingra
45th Legislative District
Deputy Majority Leader