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State provides guidance on new masking rules

WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Health District is encouraging people to continue wearing masks for the next six weeks after the state provided guidance on masking guidelines on Friday.

The recommendation comes as the state Department of Labor and Industries and the state Department of Health have released new, masking guidelines.

L&I Masking guidelines

The governor announced May 13 that the state would follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommended fully vaccinated individuals not be required to mask in most indoor and outdoor settings.

The specifics of what that meant, though, waited for guidance from DOH and L&I. That arrived Friday, finally delivering a playbook for businesses and customers.

According to the new rules, businesses can choose to follow an honor system that would assume that any unmasked person entering an establishment is fully vaccinated without verification.

Or, businesses can verify with customers if they are indeed fully vaccinated by asking for proof of vaccination, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday.

Find the governor’s proclamation at wwrld.us/proclamation.

In the workplace, employers reserve the right to continue requiring masks in their business. But if they choose to go the maskless route for their employees, they must be able to demonstrate that they verified vaccination status of their workers, according to L&I.

Employers must also allow employees to continue masking regardless of vaccination status.

Find a list of the changes made by L&I here: wwrld.us/business.

The governor’s proclamation clarifies that local authorities may still impose stricter restrictions or requirements as long as these local new requirements do not prevent a business or property from enforcing a mask-on policy or from requiring proof of vaccinations.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District currently has no plans to impose additional restrictions in the form of a mandate, but it is encouraging everyone to continue masking for the next six weeks as Chelan and Douglas counties look to hit 70% vaccination coverage, said Luke Davies, Chelan-Douglas Health District administrator.

If the area began to see a significant increase in both breakthrough cases and COVID-cases, then the health district would consider ordering a mandate, according to Davies.

Central Washington Hospital continues to see patients needing hospitalization due to COVID-19 with 12 patients hospitalized as of May 21. The health district is requesting that people remain cautious by continuing to mask.

“Respect the business, respect the place that you’re in,” Davies said. “If they ask people to mask up, please be respectful, and kind, and patient.”

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine, according to the CDC.

Unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear masks in public spaces. Everyone should also continue to mask up in healthcare settings, schools, homeless shelters, and public transportation, according to the CDC.

Photos: Fire school this weekend in Wenatchee

Wenatchee, Eastmont school board incumbents face competition this fall

WENATCHEE — Every Wenatchee and Eastmont school board post has at least three contenders as candidate filing week wrapped up Friday.

In the Wenatchee School District:

  • Position 2 incumbent Maria Iñiguez, who was appointed in January 2020, is being challenged by Tina Irvine and Matt Van Bogart.
  • Position 4 incumbent Dr. Michele Sandberg, who is completing her first four-year term after being elected in 2017, is being challenged by Katherine Thomas, Jennifer Brandt and Joel Martin.
  • Position 5 incumbent Julie Norton, who also was appointed in January 2020, is being challenged by Miranda Skalisky and Arlette Lopez Rodriguez.

In the Eastmont School District:

  • Director 3 incumbent Annette Eggers, who has served on the school board since 2005, is being challenged by Jason Heinz and Rama Mohr.
  • Director 4 “at large” incumbent Dave Piepel, who was first elected in 2017, is being challenged by Cheryl Baziak, John “Stew” Steward Jr. and Joy Dawe.

The filing deadline for candidates was 4 p.m. Friday. The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 3.

If more than two candidates are running for a position, the top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. If just two candidates are running, those two candidates automatically move to the Nov. 2 general election.

World photo/Mike Bonnicksen Darnell School sings blues at Pybus Public Market on Friday evening May 14, 2021. It was the second week that the market had live music on Friday evening since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Felix Vargas returned to Pasco after a career in the military and foreign service. Now he heads a community organization advocating for Latinos.

Nicole Brown

30 Under 35 Class of 2020

Fluff the Great Pyrenees wards off cougar

WENATCHEE — Ivan and Olga Rybakov have a Great Pyrenees that, because of a gentle nature and tendency to rub his head on their legs, they’ve nicknamed “the big cat.”

After an encounter with a cougar last week, Fluff the Great would work too.

Ivan was landscaping May 14 near a creek in his backyard a few miles up Squilchuck Road. Fluff, per usual, was by his side.

“So Fluff, the dog, is always near him when he’s doing something out on the property he always lays down within a few feet,” said Ivan’s wife, Olga, in an interview. “That’s kind of his thing.”

As Ivan tinkered with an irrigation system, Fluff darted into the bushes and started to scrap with an animal.

What kind of an animal?

Ivan didn’t know, he couldn’t see through the vegetation, Olga said.

Ivan got up and approached the tussle and was less than excited by what he found.

“He saw a cougar, clearly,” Olga Rybakov said. “And the cougar was taller than Fluff was.”

The cougar was skinny and appeared unhealthy, she said. “And so at that point, actually the cougar saw Ivan, and, and kind of distanced himself from Fluff and started walking toward Ivan,” Olga said.

Wildlife officials say you’re not supposed to run from a cougar — it triggers their predatory instincts.

Ivan ran.

He looked back as he got out of there and saw the cougar walking, not running, in his direction.

“And that is when Fluff kind of intersected and he stood between Ivan and the cougar and started barking at him,” Olga said.

Ivan made it about 40-50 feet from the cougar before he pulled out his phone and snapped a few photos of Fluff standing up the “other” big cat.

Ivan hurled rocks at the cougar. After a few tries, one struck its hip and then the mountain lion walked away.

Provided photo/Olga Rybakov 

Fluff, a Great Pyrenees, with Dozer, a pug. 

Not to be outdone, the Rybakovs’ other dog, a pug named Dozer, chased the cougar for good measure.

“It was quite entertaining getting (Dozer) caught while we were still afraid that there was a cougar back there,” Olga Rybakov said.

In the end, Fluff came away from the fight with a few scratches, Ivan now keeps a can of bear spray with him while landscaping, and Dozer’s OK, too.