Thurston County will require all residents ages 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public settings starting Friday.
Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, entering an indoor space that is accessible to the public like grocery stores, government buildings and other retail spaces will have to wear a mask.
The directive does not apply to outdoor spaces or nonpublic spaces like offices.
The directive was issued by Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek on Thursday and will remain in effect until coronavirus-related metrics decline to low levels of transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or until the directive is rescinded.
“This measure will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public, including customers and workers, help stem the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Thurston County, and decrease the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant,” the county said in a statement.
Abdelmalek was one of 35 health officers in Washington state to sign a joint-statement Thursday recommending facial coverings in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.
According to the Thurston County officers, the county has seen a 13.4% test positivity rate increase in the past two weeks, and only half of the county is fully vaccinated.
Snohomish County was the county first in Washington to bring back the widespread mask directive earlier this week.