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Some Washington residents travel to Idaho to avoid face mask mandate

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Spokane, some people are unhappy with coronavirus restrictions and drive to Idaho for daily errands like grocery shopping.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Once you cross over the state line between Washington and Idaho, there are some different rules you have to follow.

For example, in Washington, people are required to wear masks in public, while they are not in Idaho. 

It’s been nearly a month since Governor Jay Inslee's mask mandate went into effect, making it a requirement for people to wear masks in indoor public places, and outside when six feet of social distancing isn't possible.

Last week, that mandate became even more stringent and businesses now have to turn away people who choose not to wear a mask.

Amid rising coronavirus cases in Spokane County, some people are unhappy with the restrictions, leading them to get in their car and travel to Idaho for errands like grocery shopping. A recent social media post about this recently went viral, bringing more attention to the decision. 

That poses the question: how do North Idaho residents feel about the daily commuters from Washington who choose not to wear a mask?

“I think if you use common sense, don’t get too close to people. If you’re not in real close quarters then I don’t think you need a mask,” said Lance Drapeau, who lives in Idaho. 

Other residents feel it's irresponsible during this current pandemic.

Diane Fountain is a lifelong Idaho resident and she shared that it can be a bit uncomfortable seeing so many Washington driver plates when she goes out.

“We all need to do our part during [the pandemic] to stop the spread of the virus... it will never happen if people keep doing what they are doing,” Fountain explained. “If you don't want to wear a mask, then stay home.”

The same question on Facebook produced the same results. Mixed feelings about what should be done and how to handle the mask situation.

For now, Washington remains in phase two of Washington's Safe Start plan while Idaho sits in Stage Four of the Rebound Idaho plan.

RELATED: Are people wearing masks at Spokane International Airport? Informal survey says yes

RELATED: Washington businesses now required to turn away customers without face masks

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