Outdoor Mask Mandate Lifted: What to Keep in Mind

Outdoor Mask Mandate Lifted: What to Keep in Mind

February 18, 2022

Starting today, Feb. 18, the mask mandate for outdoor events and gatherings has been lifted by Gov. Inslee. We know lifting the outdoor mask mandate can give our community a glimpse of hope that the pandemic is nearing its end. However, it's important to remember that cases of COVID-19 are still being reported in Spokane County, and healthcare workers are continuing to provide critical care to those in the COVID-19 ICU.

While the outdoor mask mandate has been lifted, there are still times when wearing a mask outdoors is a good idea—not only to slow the spread of COVID-19, but to keep ourselves and others safe. Keep these situations in mind before leaving your mask at home.

If you are at increased risk for severe illness…

People at higher risk of severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 should still consider wearing a mask outdoors. This includes the elderly, those who are immunocompromised, and those who cannot receive the vaccine. While case rates in Spokane have started to decrease, it's still possible to spread and contract the virus. One of the best ways to protect your health is to keep wearing a mask outdoors when staying socially distanced at larger gatherings and events is not possible.

Booster shots are also recommended for those who are eligible to improve immunity against COVID-19. To learn more about booster shots and who's eligible, visit: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots | CDC

If you're around others who are at increased risk for severe illness…

Just like wearing a mask can help protect you, wearing a mask can also help protect others. If you plan on attending an outdoor event or gathering where people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are present, like grandma or grandpa, wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of the virus to those most vulnerable. If you're unable to wear a mask, keeping six feet of distance between you and those at higher risk can also reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you attend a large public gathering with people outside of your household…

With spring and summer just around the corner, we know people in our community are ready to enjoy the events that come with warmer weather, like outdoor concerts and baseball games. Keep in mind, though, that while you may know the vaccination status of those in your immediate family or household, you might not know the vaccination status of others at a large gathering or event. By wearing a mask, you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and reduce your own risk of exposure.

If you just completed quarantine or isolation due to a COVID-19 exposure…

If you were exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive, you’ll want to make sure you know the guidelines for wearing a mask, even if you’re outdoors. Depending on your vaccination status, you may need to wear a mask for up to 10 days after a possible exposure or positive test. To learn more about mask and isolation guidance, visit: COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation | CDC

Masks have played an important role in our fight against COVID-19 over the last two years. Even with the outdoor mask mandate lifted, the risk of spreading COVID-19 at large outdoor gatherings and events is still possible. If you feel it's necessary to wear a mask outdoors, either to protect yourself or others, go ahead and put one on! Ending the pandemic is still a community effort, and we want everyone in our community to stay safe.