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Inslee: Face Mask Mandate to End March 21 in Most Public Places


OLYMPIA, WA — Governor Jay Inslee announced today that face masks will no longer be required in most public places, including K-12 schools, starting March 21.

Inslee said face masks will still be required in health care settings including hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, as well as long-term care facilities.

Inslee said he’s still concerned about COVID hospital admissions and the stress the virus is putting on health care workers.

Businesses, local governments, and school districts can still choose to implement a face mask requirement, he said. Masks are required on public transportation and school buses.

The governor also said that beginning March 1, vaccine verification for large events will no longer be required.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) says it will issue updated guidance for K-12 schools the week of March 7, and that guidance will go into effect March 21. DOH will also shift requirements on distancing, ventilation, and sanitation in schools to recommendations, and will leave much decision making to local jurisdictions.

DOH says schools will still be required to report COVID-19 cases and outbreaks and students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms will still be required to quarantine. Schools must also ensure access to testing for staff and students who have symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

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