August 25, 2021
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese released the following statement on August 25th 2021, regarding the statewide face covering and vaccine mandates.
"Together with the rest of our community, we had hoped the COVID pandemic was winding down, and the mandated and voluntary restrictions and precautions would be easing. As our community wrestles with the recent dramatic increase in COVID infections, we are now seeing increased restrictions and mandates involving face coverings and now vaccines.
The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office has been receiving calls and inquiries regarding the updated state and county directives regarding face coverings and vaccines, along with our stance on enforcing the updated orders.
The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office primary focus will continue to be educating and working in partnership with our community to address this public health crisis rather than taking enforcement actions. This is the stance taken by most other law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the Governor's Office has yet to call on local law enforcement to aggressively enforce these health orders through citations, arrests, or criminal charges. However, citizens and businesses should be aware that failure to comply with these orders could result in civil or potentially criminal penalties. We encourage voluntary compliance with the state and county health orders and recommendations.
Working together as a community we will succeed in navigating this pandemic while keeping ourselves, family, friends, and others safe. We look forward to better times ahead."
# # #
For information about the Governor's face covering and vaccine mandates, please visit Department of Health - COVID 19
Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Mandates
Q1. Are the police enforcing the state's face covering and vaccine mandates?
A1. Statewide public health and safety orders have not been mandates for law enforcement to detain, cite or arrest violators. Local law enforcement agencies and public officials are focused on education and community engagement regarding state orders related to COVID-19 rather than taking enforcement action.
Q2. How do I report a business not complying with the Governor's face covering or vaccine mandates?
A2. Citizens who are concerned that a business is not following the Governor's face covering or vaccine mandates can file a complaint. Violations are reported to the Washington State Department of Health for further investigation. Please do not call 9-1-1.
Click here to submit a complaint.
Q3. What should I do if I have a concern about the State's face covering or vaccine mandates?
A3. Please contact the Governor's office at (360) 900-4111.
Q4. If a business asks me to leave for not wearing a mask, do I have to comply?
A4. In general, the answer is yes. However, businesses are required to follow current health department rules for face coverings, including exemptions and/or accommodations. Failure to leave the business when asked, could result in a trespass complaint.
Q5. Should I say something if someone near me isn't wearing a face covering?
A5. No. Someone may have a medical reason for not wearing a face covering. Whether those around you are wearing face coverings or not, focus on keeping six feet of distance between you and washing your hands often.
Q6. What should I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?
A6. Nothing. Some people have conditions or circumstances that would make wearing a cloth face covering difficult or dangerous. Just wear your mask and stay six feet away.
- End -