With declining COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that the state will be lifting its mask requirements as of 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 11. The state is also moving from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.
Inslee had previously announced Feb. 17 that statewide mask orders will be ending for most indoor settings March 21, including K-12 schools and child care facilities. Masks will still be required in health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long-term care settings, and correctional facilities.
The states of Oregon and California also will be lifting its masking requirements March 11, the governor’s office said. The updated state policies do not change federal requirements, which still include masks on public transit.
“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, Inslee said. “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 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, the governor’s office said.