Washington ending indoor mask mandate earlier than previously announced
Governor Inslee has joined with Governors Brown and Newsom to lift the indoor mask mandates within their states as of 11:59 p.m. on March 11.
Previously, Gov. Inslee had said that the date to end the requirement would be March 21, but made the change following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement. While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”
The CDC on Friday outlined a new set of measures for communities across the nation on Friday, focusing less on positive test results and more on what’s happening at hospitals. Previously, the CDC had recommended masks in all communities regardless of transmission levels.
According to the CDC’s map, all but nine counties in Washington fall into this category.
According to the latest figures, Grays Harbor is under Medium risk. This means that those at a high risk for severe illness should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask, get tested if you have symptoms, and take other precautions
Pacific County is listed as Low risk, which eliminates many of the recommended precautions needed.
In his announcement Monday, Inslee cited declining case rates and hospitalizations across Washington, Oregon, and California. All three Governors are making the change collectively and after 11:59 p.m. on March 11 will be adopting new indoor mask policies and move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.
This new date does not change any other aspect of the updated mask requirements Inslee announced last week.
Masks will still be required in certain settings including health care, corrections facilities, and long-term care facilities. The Washington State Department of Health will be issuing new guidance for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols.
It also does not put an end to other COVID-19 related restrictions already in place within the state or change federal requirements, which still require masks on public transit.