As masking requirements end, some reminders from the Snohomish Health District

With the statewide mask order lifting at midnight Friday, masks become optional in most public settings but still are required in certain venues or situations.

Though local health jurisdictions have the authority to put in place mask requirements at the county level, the Snohomish Health District said in a Friday news release it is aligning with the statewide rules and is not currently putting more strict masking requirements in place for Snohomish County.

There are some settings and situations where masks will continue to be required:

  • Health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, or long-term care settings.
  • Jails or correctional facilities.
  • Federal law still requires face masks in certain settings such as public transportation, currently in effect through April 18. Check the latest guidance from CDC for travel by bus, air, train, or other modes.
  • Masks will also continue to be required for isolation and quarantines practices.
    • If someone who was COVID-positive is returning to work, school, or other public settings after a 5-day isolation period, they must wear a well-fitting mask for days 6-10 after their symptom onset or positive test result.
    •  Anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 must continue to wear a mask when around others for the full 10 days after exposure.
  • Businesses and local governments may choose to implement vaccination or face mask requirements for workers or customers. For example, the Snohomish Health District continues to require masks for customers and employees at its offices at this time.
  • Schools and child cares may choose to have students and teachers wear masks.

Also remember that some people may choose to continue wearing masks, the health district said, adding that anyone who feels more comfortable wearing one should continue doing so. The lifting of the mask mandate does not signal the end of the possible need for masking nor the end of the COVID pandemic, the health district added.

“The recent decrease in COVID transmission and reduced COVID burden on the health care system is welcome news for all, giving the state confidence in lifting this masking order.  However, a return to universal public indoor masking, as well as other prevention measures, may be needed again if a subsequent wave of infection leads to a health care surge or similar impacts,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “I suspect that’s likely to occur at some point down the road–perhaps next fall or winter, or possibly sooner. More important than the details of the de-escalation is our collective readiness and willingness to resume such measures when circumstances call for it.”

Information will continue to be updated at

Employers also should continue to follow guidance from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, for which updates related to this change are underway.

The Washington State Department of Health released updated guidance earlier this week for K-12 schools, child care, early learning, youth development and day camp programs.

Mask requirements are lifted starting March 12 for schools and child cares aside from masking to meet isolation and quarantine requirements. However, school or child care settings are empowered to still require masking for students, staff, volunteers and visitors at their discretion. The Edmonds School District will be lifting its mask requirement March 12.

Certain prevention measures still are required in educational settings, including:

  • All employees and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption.
  • Any student, child or staff member who reports or exhibits COVID-like symptoms is required to isolate from others and test as soon as feasible, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools and provider facilities are required to be reported to public health.
  • Employers are required to notify L&I about outbreaks of 10 or more staff members at a facility.
  • Universal masking and other prevention measures may be required during clusters and/or outbreaks in classrooms or within groups of students, or within provider settings, to limit disease transmission and ensure continuity of in-person instruction and care.

Most of the layered prevention measures, such as screening tests, ventilation, and physical distancing, are now advisory. Schools and child care facilities may choose to keep some or all of these measures in place. There may also be individuals who choose to continue to wear masks and they should be supported in doing so.

There may be situations, such as a significant outbreak, which would requiring reinstating of these prevention measures.

Friday was the last day of COVID vaccinations at the Ash Way Park & Ride mass vaccination site. That location, which has been a dual vaccination and testing site, is transitioning to COVID testing only.

Vaccines still are free and available throughout Snohomish County. For more information on how to get your vaccines or booster, visit

To sign up for a testing appointment at a Snohomish Health District testing site or to find other testing resources, go to

Appointments are encouraged for testing, but walk-ins are accepted based on availability. To schedule an appointment, visit Those without internet access, needing language assistance, or requiring additional support in scheduling can reach the health district’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing or vaccine appointment. Callers after hours or on holidays or weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.

  1. Personally this is the type stance government and people should have had for a long time. Better late than never I guess. Still wear my 2 year old disposable hospital mask it works as good as it ever has. 10% indoors.

  2. How long before the federal mandate lifts? I am betting the Biden administration is going to continue to use Covid to distract from his lackluster performance as president for the rest of his term. Maybe the midterms will force his hand, but we’ll see.

    1. Response to Kashf Iqbal: When you say “lackluster performance” do you mean uniting and leading the world against an unprovoked attack by an authoritarian regime? Or perhaps you mean supporting ordinary Americans instead of deference to the ultra wealthy? Or maybe you mean saving the planet from a climate catastrophe? In what area do you think my President is “lackluster”?

      1. This Administration has done more harm to the working class and most vulnerable communities than you are giving them credit for… The increased cost of living, inflation across all sectors , fuel costs (even prior to Putin’s actions!), siding with Unions and closing schools, stepping on parental rights to free speech and what their kids can be taught. These policies harm the very people the Democrats say they care about the most. Wage increase rates are lagging behind the inflation rate which is at its worst level in 40 years. What about the Southern Border crisis? This has led to the enabling and enriching Mexican Cartels and our country exploding Opiod crisis.
        I actually cannot figure out what this Administration would do differently if they were trying to dismantle our economy and country. And no, sorry, I don’t “give a pass” to them for the outcomes in the name of climate change. Because the fact is that we are buying the very petroleum products we no longer produce on our own (because there is not the infrastructure in place to support clean energy at the level it is required) so they buy it from foreign tyrants and maniacs who don’t give a crap about climate change. How does that make any sense? It’s deliberate, in my opinion, and it’s choking out the middle class -not the rich- but maybe that’s the plan.
        As for the handling of the Russian/ Ukraine
        Conflict, it could have been avoided but only if the Biden Administration weren’t the Biden Administration. The Afghanistan DEBACLE is the biggest example, but there are many , including halting our energy independence and shifting oil purchases to Russia. Nothing lives in a silo.

        But on the actual topic of this article…yay! It’s about time.

  3. Yes, I think we should immediately scrap the Constitution and make Donald J. Trump President for life and in charge of the purity of all elections all over the country. That would solve everything. Works great in Russia for sure.

    1. Clinton… the only mention of Trump is from you. breaking news…. Trump is no longer President. There are plenty of real problems and challenges that need real competence and leadership that is lacking at every level of federal government. As your Vice President said recently “ you got what you voted for, right”. Cackle cackle cackle.

    2. Nathaniel
      It’s not just Seattle you can look around to many Democrat cities and states the policies are all similar they have all been in control of Democrat leaders for decades. So the idea that they are just a small portion of voting block is disingenuous. In your previous post you talked like the current president and his family aren’t knee deep in nepotism, after 50 years in government Joe is the poster child for nepotism and one could argue many of our top leaders are but you chose to admonish a president whose family may have been involved in it for a few years. You also talk about Joe cleaning up the messes left behind from the last president you mean like afganistan and our southern border both of which have been issues for decades before the last guy was even in office. 2 million across the border last year the biggest backlog of immigration cases in history record amounts of drugs coming across the human trafficking the cartels getting so strong they are destabilizing the whole southern region and its looking like it will be worse this year are you talking about that kind of leadership? I not defending my friends on the right but you and your friends on the left need to look in the mirror. The rise of Trump was a pushback against the establishment on both sides. Hence the all hands on deck to destroy him from all sides. I think he went to far in the end I’ll give you that but he isn’t president anymore Ukraine is all on Joe the exit from Afghanistan is on Joe the deteriorating conditions at the boarder is on Joe. You can also give him partial blame for the increase in oil also some of the inflation. Did I mention more people died from covid under his watch and he had the benefit of the vaccine. I know the president is but one man and he can’t control everything but so was the last president.

  4. Yes Don, and everything was just totally wonderful before Biden came on the scene. People just believe whatever dumb crap they want to believe, about masks, vaccines, politics and everything else in the world. Ukrainians are literally dying for the chance to have the “incompetent” type Federal Government people like you and Trump constantly malign and want to destroy because it isn’t run just to your liking and, if you don’t win, elections are automatically stolen. It’s all just a bunch of b.s. and we don’t appreciate how great we really have it compared to much of the rest of the world.

    1. Clinton – We have a president who isn’t knee-deep in nepotism, with an administration not one of whom has been indicted, who on top of the Ukraine situation is mopping up endless messes left over from the former guy, who isn’t golfing or running off to Florida every weekend, who isn’t a vindictive, mendacious bloviator feeding on picked crowds who worship him, has never been bankrupt, claimed an election was stolen, or buddied up to N Korea or Russia. Nor does he wave Bibles or cozy up to right-wing religious whackos or encourage thugs to get rough or crowds to attack the capitol or talk endlessly about how wonderful he is. Those are all things we enjoyed for four years – and you really don’t miss all that?

    2. Clinton if I am not mistaken a large segment of the left think this country is systematically racist and needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt with bigger more controlling government. You are correct most people alive today in this country have no idea how good they have it probably why they want to change it. I don’t want to change it I just it to be more competent more accountable and less corrupt.

      1. Almost all my friends are liberals, and I do not know a single one who wants to tear it all down, etc. Everyone I know is supportive of the police. We are all dismayed by what has become of Seattle in the hands of the far-left and always vote for those more to the center. But yes, many, myself included, see racial bias in many things, and look for ways to put this right. And we all deplore incompetence and corruption. I simply don’t recognize the portrait you paint of the “large segment of the left.”

        Should we judge the right on the actions of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and those who attacked the capitol?

      2. I can’t prove this, but it looks to me like about 20% of people on the Right are totally nuts and the same 20 % on the Left are likewise. About 60 % of us want politics to move back to the Center to try to bring back some general sense of sanity. Insanity is being talked into storming the home of our Democracy to “hang Pence” and pushing to “defund the police.” Equal opportunity stupidity for all. We should all just be reasonable, listen to each other, respect each other and be damn happy we live here.

        1. You first Clint. Nobody has more biased opinions than you. You write more nonsense than any other person. You call out damn, bs, dumb, crap, insanity, nuts, stupidity, in this thread alone. Do you even read what you type? Your code of conduct certainly does not meet the criteria that MEN holds others to. You cannot give an opinion without derogatory adjectives.

        2. Martin, you express what I have always thought. Thanks for calling it exactly what it is, nonsense!

  5. Martin and Karen, I thank you both for your perspectives on my comments. It’s called freedom of speech and I worship that freedom no matter what anyone thinks about me or says about me in this publication. People have died for our right to say what we think and that is a very big deal. (I just said “big deal” out of respect for Martin’s delicate sensitivity about specific words).

  6. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so are nonsense and bias; odd, how the other side is always guilty of these things, and never one’s own. Of course, partisan invective is always far easier than reasoned or detailed counter argument.

    Before we offer Clinton his cup of hemlock for advocating different opinions and pointing out weak spots in the argument, we might want to remember figures in the past who have been killed or crucified for unpopular opinions, and reflect that without opposing views being freely expressed, we become the enemies of the open society we pride ourselves in being. Speaking for myself, I often find that Clinton’s posts stimulate thinking – never a bad thing.

    Differ with Clinton? That’s your right – but sometimes give a moment’s thought to the idea that he might just be saying something worth considering when he makes you uncomfortable.

  7. I enjoy Clinton’s posts for that matter most people’s yes I often push back and sometimes even agree. Different perspectives give greater insight and can even lead me to modify my views. Keep it up Clinton.

  8. Really appreciate your kind support Nathaniel. You are scaring me a little with that cup of Hemlock talk though. No need to give anyone any ideas so to speak. (Not serious for the low sense of humor crowd among us).

    Information, knowledge, and open exchange of ideas is everything in a free society. I agree with Conservatives like Mitt Romney and Liz Cheny that we are currently in grave danger of losing our Democracy.

  9. Clinton is a quick wit and frequently gives the complete prospective on issues in a fun way. His point is very clear that the extremes of both sides make all the noise and many take sides without any willingness to find middle ground. To the extremes there does not seem to be a middle ground. I also find his willingness to admit errors and learn from others as refreshing.

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