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Washington mask mandate ramps up, but it's a ‘tough spot’ say some business owners

Businesses who fail to enforce the state's face coverings order can be fined.

CENTRALIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee’s new “no mask, no service” mandate went into effect Tuesday morning.

Washington’s governor is requiring business owners to refuse service to customers who refuse to wear masks, unless they have a medical condition which prevents them from masking up.

In Centralia, many of the businesses have signs reminding people of the state's order. But some businesses say it can be tough to enforce if customers decline to wear masks.

At Fuller’s Shop’n Kart in Centralia, employees handed out masks to customers who needed them, but if they didn’t accept them, they were not asked to leave the store.

Owner Garet Russo said he does not want his employees to ask customers personal medical questions.

“We’re trying to navigate an uncharted area and trying to do our best keeping our customers and staff happy and safe and working for everybody,” Russo said

Inslee said businesses who fail to enforce the order can be fined.

The rate of coronavirus spread throughout Washington has been on the rise in the past week, and public health officials say that widespread mask usage is one way to curb the spread.

The state has a website for complaints from customers who feel like the mask order is not being followed.

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