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'Not taking any chances': Everett business owner requiring masks following county recommendation

J. Matheson Gifts, Kitchen and Gourmet in Everett is once again requiring customers to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, due to increasing cases.

EVERETT, Wash. — The "Mask Required" sign is back on the front door of J. Matheson Gifts, Kitchen and Gourmet in Everett. The business owner said she's following the recommendation from health officials that people, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, should wear a face-covering while indoors.

"Wearing a mask is not a problem," said owner Judy Matheson. "We have to care about others."

Matheson had been asking customers their vaccination status and allowed fully vaccinated people to enter without a mask. But on Saturday, Matheson said 10 customers said they had not been vaccinated.

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With COVID-19 cases climbing once again in Snohomish County, Matheson said she wanted to be proactive. The 75-year-old store owner said her safety and her customers' personal stories also played a factor.

"One lady came in and said her daughter got COVID twice, and another lady came in and her 39-year-old son dies of COVID, and I said we're not taking any chances," said Matheson.

J. Matheson Gifts, Kitchen and Gourmet is following the recommendation of Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Spitters.

Spitters joined health officers from King, Pierce, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan and Grays Harbor counties in a joint statement Monday recommending all residents wear face coverings in indoor public settings, regardless if they are fully vaccinated.

"Good, I'm so glad. I really am," Matheson said about the recommendation.

Matheson said she has faced backlash for the mask requirement but plans to keep the sign-up for the foreseeable future.

"Today, I had a lady who didn't have her mask on and hadn't been vaccinated, and she yelled at me and thought it was awful," said Matheson. "I said, 'You're trying to protect others, dear. Please put your mask on.'"

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