Face Coverings
Overview FAQ Resources

Updated Dec. 1, 2022

Masks and Cloth Face Coverings

As of March 12, 2022, face coverings are no longer required to be worn in most settings in Washington state, including K-12 schools, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores and retail locations. However, you should still keep a mask handy for situations where masks continue to be required. Masks are still required by the state in certain settings including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Medical and healthcare facilities including hospitals, outpatient, dental facilities and pharmacies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Correctional facilities

Workplace guidance may vary by industry. Please review guidance from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) for industry specific guidance.

For more specific masking guidance related to schools, please see this document from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

Private businesses and local health jurisdictions may still choose to require masks and some individuals may independently choose to continue wearing them. Please respect the rules of businesses you enter and follow the requirements of counties or cities requiring mask use.

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

While we are entering a new phase of the pandemic, 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. Highly transmissible variants may also infect people who are already vaccinated. 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, especially if you live in an area where the rates of transmission are high.

While Spokane County data show a decline in hospitalization and positive case trends after the Omicron surge, it’s important to remain vigilant as trends could change in the future. An upward trend in hospitalizations or increased transmission could mean we reconsider wearing masks again. 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.

More Information

Face Covering Orders

General public order

This order from the Washington state secretary of health requires Washingtonians to wear a face covering in health care settings, long-term care settings and correctional and jail facilities, with some exceptions. (Updated October 2022.)

Workplace order

Washington employers and employees should continue following workplace guidance for masks and respirators from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Order

This order required that travelers wear face coverings on all public transportation including, but not limited to airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, transportation hubs and ride shares. However, as a result of a court order, this order is no longer in effect, and the CDC will not enforce the order. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. Learn more