Gov. Jay Inslee to lift mask mandate early

In line with federal guidance, indoor mask mandate to end March 12

Addie Adkins, Assistant Copy Editor

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the indoor mask requirement for schools and businesses would lift on Saturday, March 12. The announcement came in a joint news release from Inslee and the governors of California and Oregon, who also adjusted restrictions.

During a press conference, Inslee said the federal guidance from the CDC focuses on metrics such as hospitalizations and how COVID-19 affects a community at large. Due to that, Inslee said Washington will make a move to reviewing data in a similar manner.

Inslee said looking at metrics from a county-by-county basis has not been helpful and a move to a statewide basis will be beneficial for Washington as a whole.

The updated date does not change the policy set forward last week except in cases where the federal mandate has changed. Masks will still be required to enter health care facilities, long-term care facilities and on airplanes and other transportation.

Inslee had previously announced that the indoor mask mandate would be rescinded on March 21.

“We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement,” Inslee stated in the news release. “As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”

According to The Seattle Times, California’s mask mandate will end March 1, while Oregon’s mandate will end March 11.