SEATTLE — King County dropped the mask mandate Tuesday for those who have been fully vaccinated.
It comes a day earlier than expected to fully reopen the state.
Officials say 70% of people 16 or older in King County are now considered fully vaccinated, meaning it’s been two weeks since they received their final dose.
Now that the local directive is over, Washington state mask guidelines are in effect in King County, which means those who haven’t been vaccinated need to continue to wear masks in indoor public places and crowded outdoor spaces.
County health officials say those who are not vaccinated should also continue to take other measures, including social distancing and avoiding crowded indoor spaces.
According to Public Health – Seattle and King County:
“As COVID-19 is spread through the air, including from asymptomatic people, it is critical for those who not immune Continue to wear masks indoors and limit indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the infection to others. As more infectious variants spread, if COVID-19 increases in the future, wider mask wear may be recommended to prevent the spread of infection.”
Public Health said everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to keep a mask with them when going out, as they will be needed in some indoor settings. Companies are allowed to require customers to wear masks, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.
Health officials also said not to throw away your masks. It will be needed again if there is another increase in COVID-19.
“Thanks to highly effective COVID-19 vaccines and decreasing disease rates in our community at this time, vaccinated people are no longer directed to wear masks in most indoor public spaces but may choose to do so at their discretion.” said Dr. Jeff Duchen, health officer, Public Health – Seattle and King County.
Currently, the statewide vaccination rate is 68.2%. The target is 70%, but Governor Jay Inslee said the state is likely to reopen on June 30 regardless.
For questions about reopening the state, visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/safereopen.aspx.
© Cox Media Group 2021