Even with Washington ending its mask mandate this past weekend, Tri-Cities shoppers shouldn't throw their face coverings away just yet.

Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash
Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash
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Some stores in Tri-Cities are still asking shoppers to wear a mask.

Even though Washington mostly dropped its statewide mandate to wear masks indoors, businesses can still ask you to put yours on. I kept mine in my back pocket when I walked the Richland Uptown Shopping Center with my family on Saturday. I had a feeling I would need it, and I was correct. There were two businesses we visited that still asked us to wear facemasks. Even though I was excited to finally go maskless, I had no problem obliging local business owners.

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I can't know what their situation is, maybe they have underlying conditions or care for someone that does. Maybe they just don't want their kids to get sick. Whatever their reason is, I never want to be rude. The worst-case scenario for me is that I'll have to deal with five minutes of personal inconvenience.

Photo by Filip Bunkens on Unsplash
Photo by Filip Bunkens on Unsplash
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Some people are still wearing masks on their own terms.

As the pandemic continued to crawl along, people started to talk about "evaluating your own risk." This makes perfect sense to me in a new, less restricted Washington. I'm young, healthy, and assess my own personal risk. Some people may not be willing to take off their masks just yet, and that's okay. It doesn't affect me and I can't speak for someone else's risk. I just do me, baby. You should know, however, that the mask mandate has not been lifted everywhere in Washington just yet.

Photo by Robert Pricop on Unsplash
Photo by Robert Pricop on Unsplash
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Where do I still have to wear a mask indoors in Washington?

If you have a dental appointment, don't forget your mask. Hospitals, dental offices, and pharmacies are still requiring you to wear a mask. You need to wear your mask if you're riding the bus, visiting a long-term care facility, or a correctional facility.

Photo by Ehsan ahmadnejad on Unsplash
Photo by Ehsan ahmadnejad on Unsplash
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At the end of the day, it's up to you. Take your mask off if you choose, because I know I do. Leave it on if you're unsure or if a local business still requires it.

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