Updated April 3, 2023
Masks and Cloth Face Coverings
As of April 3, 2023, face coverings are no longer required to be worn in the following settings:
- Medical and healthcare facilities including hospitals, outpatient, dental facilities and pharmacies
- Long-term care facilities
- Correctional facilities
For more specific masking guidance related to schools, please see this document from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
Healthcare facilities, private businesses and local health jurisdictions may still choose to require masks and some individuals may independently choose to continue wearing them. DOH continues to recommend masks for patients, healthcare providers, and visitors in healthcare settings. Please respect the rules of organizations you enter.
Please Be Kind
If an individual chooses to wear a mask, please be kind. People have many reasons for continuing to mask, including health concerns for themselves or loved ones that you may not know about. Please be compassionate and accepting of the protective measures others make for themselves.
Keep Your Mask for a “Rainy” Day
It’s still a good idea to keep a mask handy for the following situations:
- When you may have been exposed to COVID-19
- If you are recovering from COVID-19 and it is between 5 and 10 days since positive test or symptom onset
- You are in a region where COVID-19 community levels are currently high, and you are in crowded indoor spaces where physical distancing may not be possible
- When you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms; although staying home is recommended, if you do need to go out, please wear a mask
- When you are visiting a location where those around you are at high risk of severe symptoms of COVID-19
It is important to recognize that COVID-19 is still present in our communities. People can spread COVID-19 even when they don’t have symptoms or know that they are sick. Wearing a face covering, in addition to getting vaccinated, is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect others who may be more vulnerable to illness with COVID-19.
While case numbers have continued to remain low, it’s important to be vigilant. If an upward trend in hospitalizations or transmission occurs in the future, it’s a good idea to consider wearing a mask again.
So, for now, keep a mask handy and think of it like an umbrella. Higher rates of disease transmission are like a rainy day when using an umbrella can protect you from getting wet. Low transmission and hospitalizations are like a sunny day when an umbrella isn’t needed. Think of your mask as a layer of protection for a rainy day, or in this case, as protection from infection. You don’t need to use it all the time, but watch the weather, and the trends, to keep your family safe.
Washington employers and employees should continue following workplace guidance for masks and respirators from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).