King County’s local indoor mask mandate to end after March 11

Based on our current downward hospitalization and case rates, our review of CDC’s guidance, and today’s state action, King County’s local indoor mask order will end concurrently with the state’s order–after March 11, 2022. In addition, King County will not be extending a local mask order for schools and childcares beyond the state’s order.

We believe that ending the indoor mask order ten days earlier than the state previously announced will not make a significant difference for our local King County disease trends.

King County is now classified at a “low COVID-19 community level” on CDC’s framework. King County residents have taken strong actions to protect themselves and others, most importantly through vaccination. We will continue to partner with our community to increase the number of people receiving their booster when eligible, which will give us the most protection.

  • The King County indoor mask order ends March 11, 2022. How will mask requirements change on March 12? King County will no longer require masks in many indoor public spaces: • Schools, childcare facilities and libraries • Restaurants and bars • Church, mosques, temples, and other houses of worship • Gyms, and other sports facilities • Grocery and other stores and other businesses
  • Masks will still be required: • Healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, and pharmacies • Long-term care settings like nursing homes • Public transit, taxis, rideshare vehicles (federal requirement) • Jails and prisons
  • Businesses, schools and childcares may decide to continue to require masks. Please respect people’s choices to continue to wear a mask.
  • Why now? King County is ending its local indoor mask order because hospitalizations and case numbers are declining and because of changes to CDC guidance, and high vaccination rates.
  • What’s next? This policy change does not mean COVID-19 is over. Thank you for continuing to limit the spread of COVID-19 by: • Getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible • Improving indoor ventilation • Testing and staying home when sick • Wearing a mask if you are at high risk, or around others who are at high risk, or in crowded places where it makes sense

Lifting the indoor mask mandate does not mean COVID is over. The use of high quality, well-fitting masks still make sense in certain settings. It is very reasonable to continue to mask if you are at increased risk, are in contact with someone at high risk, out of consideration for people who may be at higher risk in public settings, or if you want to reduce your own risk for any reason. 

We need to be aware that COVID-19 is still circulating and some risk still remains.  Layered protections continue to be important, including staying up to date on vaccination and boosters, improving indoor air quality through ventilation and filtration, and for high-risk persons especially, masking and limiting time in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

Originally posted 2/28/22