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Pullman emergency order limits gatherings, imposes mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise

Outdoor gatherings in Pullman that aren’t related to weddings, funerals or religious services must be limited to no more than 10 people.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Whitman County Department of Public Health issued an emergency health order Friday in the City of Pullman in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency order limits gatherings, imposes social distancing requirements and imposes a mask mandate. The department said in the order there have been 140 new coronavirus cases and a significant increase of assumed cases of community spread in Whitman County since March 26.

According to the order, outdoor gatherings in the city that aren’t related to weddings, funerals or religious services must be limited to no more than 10 people. Masks are required unless someone is physically unable to wear one or the person is under two years old, and six-foot social distancing must be maintained.

Washington state is currently in Phase 3 of its reopening plan and all other requirements set forth by Governor Jay Inslee will remain the same in Pullman, according to the order. State health officials already require people to wear face coverings in public and shared spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

The orders in Pullman go into effect immediately and will be in place until there's an order to remove the orders. 

Pullman police said its officers will focus enforcement efforts on education. They will first providing warnings to those in violation of the order. Citations will be issued to repeat offenders.

The Whitman County Department of Public Health’s website says the COVID-19 case rate in the county was at 379 cases per 100,000 people from March 14-27. Overall, there have been 3,919 cases and 46 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. 

Washington State University In Pullman recently urged Cougs to “do better.” In a sternly worded letter sent last Friday, school officials called an increase in coronavirus cases alarming and banned group gatherings all together.

WSU confirmed on Monday that it has spent $200,000 in COVID-19 testing for students in connection to two large parties in February.