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Spokane workers react to new state mask requirement

The order went into effect on Monday and was created to help slow the spread of coronavirus while still allowing businesses to stay open.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Workers around Spokane are adjusting to a new state order requiring all employees to wear masks while working.

The order went into effect Monday and was created to help slow the spread of coronavirus while still allowing businesses to stay open.

There are some exceptions to the requirement for those who are working in a job where people have no contact with others, those who are deaf and rely on facial markers and expressions, or people with medical conditions that make wearing a facial covering inappropriate. 

Employers are required to provide necessary materials to their employees. 

“It’s really hard to do wear them, especially if you’re a server,” said Michelle Lyon, who works at Ferguson’s Café.

Dave Jones, the café’s owner, said he’s now making sure all his employees are wearing their masks anytime they’re inside the restaurant.

“It’s just something you have to do, so you just figure out how to do it and go forward,” Jones said.

He said wearing the masks has made their daily operations a bit uncomfortable.

“You’re not supposed to touch your face anyway, but with the mask over the grill, it can get a little itchy,” Jones said.

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Lyon said it’s been harder for her to breathe while running around during her shift.

She said it’s also been more difficult to communicate with customers.

“It’s so much harder to hear and talk to them, especially when you’re standing six feet away. You can easily mess up an order,” she said.

“Our business is customer service, so the first thing we do is smile at people, and that’ll be really difficult,” said Tami Sevier, owner of the Old European Breakfast House.

Sevier said she is also making sure her employees are wearing their masks, since they’re requiring customers to wear them.

“We can see them being really safe. There hasn’t been an issue with that,” she said.

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