UPDATED – Washington’s Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, already the focus of considerable criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has ignited a fury among his Evergreen State constituents by mandating face masks everywhere outside the home starting Friday.
Two surveys, one taken by KOMO, the Seattle-based ABC affiliate and another by the Lynnwood Times, show heavy opposition among respondents.
The KOMO survey shows more than 61 percent of respondents opposed to Inslee’s mandate, about which many are questioning his legal authority to issue such an order. It has been retweeted more than 820 times and more than 20,000 people have voted.
Do you agree with the new mandatory face mask rule announced Tuesday by Gov. Inslee?
— KOMO News (@komonews) June 23, 2020
The Lynnwood poll is overwhelmingly against the governor’s order, with 87 percent opposed and only 13 percent in agreement. The survey, posted on Facebook, has already garnered more than 329 responses.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, the police chief in Republic who became nationally famous more than a year ago when he announced he would not enforce provisions of gun control Initiative 1639, is out with a video statement, calling Inslee’s order “Absolutely ridiculous.”
“Jay Inslee has no business telling us what we’re going to wear,” Culp said in reaction, “whether it’s a hat, whether it’s a mask, whether it’s gloves. We are free individual citizens. We have individual freedom and liberty.”
Culp vowed to not comply with Inslee’s order, which he called “absolutely draconian.”
“We do not need a dictator in Olympia,” said the Republican challenger. “He has got to go.”
Another GOP candidate, former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed, also issued a statement.
“Requiring a mask is a mandate not law,” Freed observed. “Inslee has been trying to write laws during this entire Covid crisis yet he does not have the authority as the executive of the state to write law. He continues to overstep his constitutional bounds. He has overseen the rise of lawlessness in Washington state. He divides us and makes greater dictates against law abiding citizens rather than enforcing rule of existing law to those establishing autonomous zones or violently protesting. His path has lead for him to be governor over a Gotham State.”
And Tuesday afternoon in Lewis County, Sheriff Rob Snaza told a crowd outside a Napavine church, “Don’t be sheep!”
The sheriff was at the gathering because of reports that Antifa anarchists had planned to vandalize the famous “Uncle Sam” billboard along Interstate 5 southbound that has carried conservative messages for several years.
The governor’s order has a weird exception for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Also, children under age 5 are exempt, and masks needn’t be worn by people who are eating in public.
Apparently, any kind of mask will do, according to Inslee.
“Any covering that will cover the nose and mouth will do in this case,” he said. “What you choose is your choice. We’re just appreciative if everyone could think of this as the new part of etiquette in our state.”
Critics argue Inslee’s order is simply trying to condition people.
Sheriff Snaza noted that the order didn’t come until 100 days after the initial emergency was declared. A post on Facebook summed up much of the anti-Inslee sentiment: “Making a mask mandatory after 2 months of a pandemic is like putting a condom on after she’s already pregnant.”