Effective April 3, the Washington State Department of Health said it will end its mask requirement for health care, long-term care and adult correctional facilities.
In Washington, COVID-19, RSV and influenza disease rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline since the end of last year, the Department of Health said. The end of Washington’s universal masking requirements aligns with similar announcement made Friday by the state of Oregon.
“Masks have been – and will continue to be – an important tool, along with vaccinations, to keep people healthy and safe,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah. “We are thankful for our health and long-term care providers, staff members, patients, and all Washingtonians, for following the important public health measures put in place during the pandemic to protect one another.”
DOH infection prevention and control guidance continues to recommend masks for patients, health care providers and visitors in health care settings. Licensed health care facilities are required to have infection prevention policies and programs consistent with CDC guidance.
Several worker protection requirements enforced by the state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) remain in effect, including that employees and contractors may choose to use facemasks or other personal protective equipment on the job without employer retaliation. Additionally, under the state Health Emergency Labor Standards Act rules, several key worker protections remain in place until the federal pandemic response declaration ends May 11.
The current Secretary of Health mask order will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. April 2. Local or tribal governments, facilities, and providers may choose to continue to require masks in these or other settings.
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