Governor Jay Inslee has announced new COVID mask and vaccination requirements.  Effective Monday, August 23rd, all Washington residents will be required to wear mask indoors regardless of their vaccination status.  Snohomish County implemented this order on Monday August 16, 2021, and it is now a statewide requirement.

This applies to everyone everywhere.  You need to wear a mask at all retail outlets, including but not limited to, grocery and drug stores, restaurants, hardware stores or anywhere where the public has free access, no matter your personal vaccination status.

This is a result of the Delta variant of the virus spreading rapidly throughout the country, including our state and the counties in the North Sound community.  “In Washington we continue to see an increase of cases, hospitalizations,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “Vaccines are safe and effective, but they take time to work. As our vaccination efforts continue, we are asking the public to take additional protections to help slow the spread of COVID in communities. Wearing a mask helps to protect yourself and each other.”

Limited exceptions when face coverings will not be required include office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are fully vaccinated, 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.

“We have seen over the last year how widespread masking also saves lives by reducing infection,” Inslee said. “I know this will frustrate some vaccinated folks who thought they wouldn’t have to do this anymore. There are not enough people vaccinated. The result is the explosive growth of a much more infectious strain, the Delta variant, and it increasingly concerns impacts on people of all ages.”

While not required at this time, the Department of Health strongly recommends individuals also wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, such as sporting events, concerts, fairs, and farmers’ markets where large numbers of people gather, and the vaccination status of other individuals is not known.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience. She is currently the Editor of the Everett Post dedicated to providing current, relevant, and entertaining content for the local community.