In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Governor Inslee announced that he is reissuing the statewide mask mandate for all public spaces effective this coming Monday, August 23.
The indoor mask mandate applies to all individuals and children over five years of age regardless of vaccination status. All public spaces across the state, including retail stores, malls, restaurants, grocery stores, and public-facing offices, are affected. The limited exemptions to this mandate include office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated and when working alone indoors or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction. Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt.
Every county in the state currently falls within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) substantial or high transmission. Each of the state’s 35 local health officers recently recommended all individuals wear masks indoors.
In addition, the Governor also announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education settings. K -12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers, and others working in school facilities will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. The requirement includes public, private, and charter schools, and comes as schools across the state prepare to return for the 2021–2022 school year amid rapidly increasing case and hospitalization numbers. This does not impact students, regardless of age.