Editor’s note: This post is no longer being updated. For the latest information on masking requirements in the Seattle area, Washington state and U.S., click here.

Washington’s statewide mandate for schools and businesses lifted March 12; Gov. Jay Inslee made the announcement on Feb. 28.

State officials accelerated the timeline for lifting the mask requirement — initially set to wind down on March 21 — after federal officials loosened public health guidelines on face coverings.

King County’s local indoor mask order ended concurrently with the state’s, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced last month.

Washington’s COVID-19 mask requirements to lift on March 12

Masks will still be required in some settings.

Vaccine verification requirements loosened statewide and in King County on March 1.

The changes come as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations fueled by omicron are declining.


Local governments still have the authority to continue or reimplement mask mandates, and private businesses can still require employees and customers to wear masks, according to Inslee’s office.

Here are the latest mask and vaccine-verification policies in King County and Washington state. 

Where are masks still required?

Masks are still required statewide on public transit and in health care and congregate living spaces. That includes medical facilities like hospitals, pharmacies, outpatient and dental facilities, long-term care settings, correctional facilities, taxis and ride-hail vehicles.

Masks are also still required on school buses — a federal requirement, according to Inslee’s office. 

Private businesses can still require masks if they choose, and local governments can enact, continue or reimplement mandates.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic


Where are masks not required? 

There is no longer a statewide mask mandate for most indoor spaces, which include schools, child care facilities, libraries, restaurants and bars, places of worship, gyms, recreation centers, indoor athletic facilities, or retail establishments like grocery stores.

The statewide and King County mask requirements for outdoor gatherings of over 500 people ended Feb. 18.

What about vaccine verification? 

Vaccine verification for large events is no longer required statewide. King County also dropped its vaccine-verification requirement for large outdoor events, like concerts and sporting events, as well as restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms on March 1. 

Businesses are free to impose their own vaccine requirements, but there is no countywide requirement. 


How will guidelines for school change?

Inslee pushed up the timeline for lifting Washington’s COVID-19 mask requirements for schools and businesses to March 12 after federal officials loosened public health guidelines on face coverings.



Will guidelines for employers change?

Employers will still be required to tell workers when there is a suspected or confirmed coronavirus case. For worksites with 50 or more employees, outbreaks with 10 or more confirmed cases must be reported to the state Department of Labor and Industries. 

Employees also must allow workers to continue wearing masks if they choose and cannot take “adverse action” against a worker who wears a mask or takes time off to get vaccinated or seek coronavirus-related treatment. 


Seattle Times staff reporters Elise Takahama and Joseph O’Sullivan contributed to this report.


Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of King County’s mask mandate for large outdoor events. King County’s masking requirement for large outdoor events ended Feb. 18.