Wash. PD says it will enforce mask mandate, social distancing

Violators could be charged with a gross misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail, the release said


By Michael Wells
Lewiston Tribune, Idaho

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Pullman Police Department will enforce Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release Wednesday.

Pullman police plan to focus on enforcing wearing masks, social distancing and limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

Individuals violating a proclamation requirement will be charged with a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail, the news release said.

People who violate an order issued by the local or Washington State Board of Health or a local health official pertaining to wearing a mask and social distancing will be subject to misdemeanor charges that carry a fine of up to $100 and up to 90 days in jail, the release said.

Anyone allowing a party or gathering with attendees not in compliance with mask and social distancing requirements or who have gatherings of more than 10 people will be subject to Class 2 civil infraction that carries a $250 fine on the first violation and $350 fine for each subsequent violation.

Those who fail to disperse a party or gathering are subject to misdemeanor charges with a fine of up to $100 and up to 90 days in jail.

Violations involving Washington State University students will be reported to the WSU Center for Community Standards. WSU may take action in addition to any criminal or civil process.

Business violations are not handled by local law enforcement. Pullman residents who seek to report a business in violation to the state can go to coronavirus.wa.gov/report-safe-start-violation.

“We stand between those who are law-abiding and those whose actions risk the health and safety of others,” Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said in the news release. “Violations of the governor’s proclamations not only put the violator’s health at risk, but the health of our entire community.”

There have been 133 cases of COVID-19 in Whitman County since the pandemic began this winter.

“We implore everyone to abide by Gov. Inslee’s declarations,” Jenkins said. “It is the right thing to do for you; it is the right thing to do for your community. We are in this together, and Pullman Police officers are here to help in keeping our community members safe and healthy.”

Inslee’s proclamations can be found at www.governor.wa.gov/office-governor/official-actions/proclamations.

©2020 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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