UPDATE: In reaction to Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement today that Washington would not yet repeal its statewide indoor mask mandate, Sen. John Braun released the following response as an update to his earlier statement.


“It’s very disappointing that the governor chose only to announce an end to the outdoor mask mandate – something most people had forgotten even existed. Our rate of decline in cases is better than Oregon’s, but they and California both announced dates for the end to their mask mandates. Somehow the science is different in here?  I don’t know if he is indifferent or just unprepared. Come on, governor. The people of Washington deserve more.”


OLYMPIASenate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, had the following to say upon hearing the governor might announce an end to the statewide mask mandate at his 2 p.m. news conference today.

Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, sent a letter to the governor on Feb. 1 requesting that he remove the statewide mask mandates, increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates to our long-term care facilities to discharge more patients from hospitals, and de-emphasize the current focus on testing.

“There are now only four states with statewide indoor mask mandates still in effect, but we’re the only one left on the West Coast. Oregon and California have announced an end to theirs. The governor usually loves to follow California’s lead. This is one rare instance where we would not discourage him, especially since School Superintendent Reykdal said he would like masks to be optional for K-12 students while at school. It’s time to end the mandate, as we requested in a letter to the governor. Ending the mask mandate would help lessen the burden on schools, retail businesses and the hospitality industry, as well as on families across the state.

“What’s more, the number of COVID cases is down in California by 65% in the last week. Over that same time period, Washington’s has dropped 48.6% while Oregon’s dropped 40%. While the case decline is lower in Oregon, they are moving forward to end their mask mandate.”

A recent study conducted by Monmouth University showed fully 70% of Americans agreed with the statement that “it’s time we accept COVID is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.” The Monmouth survey found that support for vaccine mandates has dropped to 43% from 53% in September, while support for masking and social distancing guidelines dropped to 52% from 63% over the same period.