Washington Mask Mandate Goes Into Effect Today

Aug 23, 2021

Masking is required in public places again in Washington, despite the vaccination status of the people who are there.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Governor Jay Inslee’s order goes into effect today [Monday].


“Restaurants and offices. Shops. It covers everyone in a public-facing setting, regardless of vaccination status. So, in a place that is open to the public, everyone needs to wear their mask in those conditions," he said.

Vaccinated workers who don’t work with the public may stay unmasked in their work settings.  He says unvaccinated workers are still required to wear their face coverings in all times on the job. In non-public places where everyone is vaccinated, the governor says people may take off their masks.

“In a sense this is a new fight. In a sense this is a new virus. The delta variant presents a whole new challenge to the state of Washington. Just as we have said since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve got to tackle the tools, we’ve got to tackle the threats with the tools we have today," he said.

The mandate will also not apply to athletes in indoor sports when they’re playing a game or practicing. They need to wear the mask on the sideline. Those younger than five or who have a medical condition that prevent mask wearing are not required to follow this mandate. The governor has announced that school children and staff will be required to wear masks. Teachers and other staff must be fully vaccinated by October 18 to keep their jobs.