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Spokane businesses and residents react to lifted mask mandates

Despite moving the Washington mask mandate expiration date up nine days, some Spokane industries said masks will still be required due to other rules.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced Monday the state indoor mask mandate would be lifted on March 12, nine days earlier than his previous recommendation.

Some businesses are looking forward to the mask mandate lift, but other industries said not much would change, despite the end of the official mandate.

Matt Meyer, Spokane Public Facilities District entertainment director, said audience members attending Broadway shows will still need to wear masks.

"Even with the mandate lifted, it's part of the Actors Equity," Meyer said. "So their guild and their union, it's mandated through that. So it's nothing that West Coast entertainment or the venues are putting down, but it's meant to keep the touring act safe and to allow them to continue to work through all of this."

Wicked is coming to Spokane from March 9-27, but Meyer said this information shouldn't be new for ticket holders. He said before purchasing tickets, attendees knew masking would be required. 

According to the Broadway Spokane website, "all Broadway touring companies currently require face masks at events regardless of geographic market or performance venue."

However, many downtown restaurants, like O'Doherty's Irish Grille, are looking forward to the mask mandate ending.

"It's actually a really nice feeling. I appreciate the ability to do that and I appreciate what everyone's been doing with the whole, looking at the science but also looking at the well-being of our nation and our people," Jeph Barlow, O'Doherty's Manager said. "Even though it has been real hard, the morale boost that we're gonna get on this is just that of crazy proportions."

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