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The formal amendments to the state face covering (mask) mandate were issued on March 11, 2022. The amendments (known as Proclamation 20-25.19) repealed the prior mask mandates and replaced them with less restrictive mandates. Proclamation 20-25.19 also requires people to follow the Washington State Secretary of Health’s face covering order (amended effective March 12, 2022) and any subsequent amendments; and it requires employers to follow the Washington State Labor & Industries (“L&I”) rules and guidance. Additionally, Proclamation 20-25.19 continues to require employers to notify their local health jurisdiction of outbreaks and it requires everyone to cooperate with public health authorities in investigations and infection control measures.

To summarize, as of March 12, 2022:

  • The Washington State indoor mask mandate has been lifted except for health care settings, long-term care settings, and correctional and jail facilities;
  • Local governments can still impose stricter mask requirements;
  • Businesses can still impose stricter mask requirements for their employees and customers (with some exceptions for children under two, people with certain medical conditions, reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs, etc.);
  • People have a right to wear masks even in situations where they are not required (with some safety-related exceptions); and
  • The state’s amendments do not repeal the Federal mandates, such face covering requirements for buses, trains, airplanes, etc.

The Secretary of Health’s Order has some additional details in it for operators of health care settings, long-term care settings, and correctional and jail facilities. Also, keep in mind that employers who have unionized workforces may need to bargain any changes to their policies, including repealing their mask policies.

Below are links to the amended mandates:

This article should not be relied on as legal advice or for any other purpose because it is a brief overview of a complex topic that keeps changing, and your situation may require a more detailed analysis than the broad-brush description in this article. If you have any questions, please contact Karen Sutherland, ksutherland@omwlaw.com, or one of the other members of our Labor & Employment Group, https://www.omwlaw.com/practices-and-industries/labor-and-employment.