Governor Inslee Announces Plan to Lift Mask Mandate
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Masks Remain a Recommended Public Health Measure
Spokane, Wash. – Today, Governor Jay Inslee announced the lifting of statewide mandates affecting indoor public masking and vaccination verification for large events.
Beginning March 21, face masks will no longer be required in most settings, including K-12 schools and childcare facilities. Vaccine verification for large events will no longer be required beginning March 1.
Spokane Regional Health District’s Health Officer Dr. Frank Velázquez said, “I appreciate the governor allowing for the time needed for hospitals to recover from the high hospitalization rates we see currently. There is optimism and confidence in the declining rates, and this gives Spokane County time to be in a safer place to show flexibility with public health measures.”
In addition, Inslee announced updated guidance for K-12 schools will be issued by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on the week of March 7 and will go into effect on March 21.
“Our guidance for the public and for schools will continue to follow that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH, which recommends masks as a prevention measure hindering the transmission of COVID-19, especially when combined with up-to-date vaccinations, hand washing, social distancing and good hygiene,” said Velázquez. “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will provide this guidance to school administrators who can then make the best decision for their communities.”
Masks will still be required in many situations such as:
- Where required by federal mandates. Currently, masks are required on public transportation including planes, trains, buses, taxis, ride share and ferries
- Health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long term care settings and correctional facilities
- Where businesses, organizations or venues have required their use
“It is important that we are all kind and show respect for organizations or businesses that require masks and for individuals who choose to wear masks in order to protect themselves and those around them,” said Velázquez. “Follow the rules of the house you’re in.”
More information regarding Inslee’s announcement can be found on the Governor’s Medium page. You can also find further details about mask recommendations at covid.shrd.org. Velázquez also provided masking guidance during this week’s Facebook Live.