Commissioner says governor’s new mask rule defies basic science, logic

Commissioner says governor’s new mask rule defies basic science, logic

An Island County commissioner said she will refuse to follow Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest rule related to COVID-19 because she believes it does not follow basic science.

During the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, Public Health Director Keith Higman explained to the three-member board that, beginning June 8, nearly all employees in the state will be required to wear a cloth facial covering or face mask, except when working alone in an office, vehicle or job site.

Under the rule, employers must provide facial coverings to employers.

Commissioner Jill Johnson pointed out that masks were not a requirement during the peak of the pandemic and that it’s not health officers calling for the rule, but a politician.

Johnson said she is concerned about government overreach.

“At some point we need to make sure,” she said, “the things that government is requiring of people are things that government should be requiring, and they should be based in logic and facts.”

Last week, Higman explained that new Centers for Disease Control guidelines say masks should be worn when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained for 15 minutes or more.

Commissioner Janet St. Clair said she shares Johnson’s concerns. She discussed the specifics of the latest guidelines.

“If there’s new science, let’s have a conversation about that,” she said.

Johnson said she’s not usually a person who engages in civil disobedience, but she will make an exception in this case. She said she does not understand the logic, and that it’s an important issue for her.

Island County was granted a variance to begin Phase 2 of the governor’s Safe Start reopening plan early.

The county has only had one positive COVID-19 test in the last three weeks, which resulted in the death of a Camano Island resident in her 40s who had pre-existing medical problems.

The county also tested more than 2,600 people without symptoms and nobody tested positive.

Johnson isn’t the only commissioner in the state who has threatened to defy the governor.

Skagit County commissioners said they planned to move the county to Phase 2 Friday, with or without approval from the state, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

More in News

North Whidbey man jailed for car insurance fraud

Arnold F. Bodner, 58, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court April 16 to a single count of insurance false claim, which was a felony charge because the amount of the claim exceeded $1,500.

VQ-1 ‘World Watcher’ gains new commander

Cmdr. David Van Kampen has assumed command of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron… Continue reading

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Junior Michael McKinney uses an arc welder to make a trailer hitch for a shed the class is making.
OHHS to expand skills classes with new building

The building may be used for engineering, manufacturing, automotive and construction classes that are in high demand.

Meeting set to interview three for assessor position

The Island County Republican Party Central Committee was tasked with nominating three people to replace Mary Engle, who resigned as the elected assessor earlier this year to become planning director.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
The Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry route will stay on one-boat service until at least June 27.
Coupeville route down to one ferry through June 27

Another delay in two-boat service means Coupeville ferry riders will need to squeeze onto one boat until at least June 27.

Oak Harbor will have Fourth of July fireworks, parade

This year’s event will look slightly different to comply with safety guidelines.

Car crashes into building, boat during police chase

The car went through a building, struck a “Zodiac type boat” and came to rest against the far wall, the deputy’s report states.

District names interim superintendent

School board members unanimously voted for Karst Brandsma

Worker will begin wrapping the Deception Pass bridge this month as they try to complete the project by the end of the year. The parking lot on Whidbey Island next to the bridge will be closed until March. WSDOT photo
Deception Pass bridge parking lot closed until March

The closure is supposed to ease access for construction crews as they work on the bridge.

Most Read