From the federal government to local authorities, guidance over masking during the COVID-19 pandemic has differed greatly in recent weeks.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee added a bit more direction to help clarify the state’s position.

In his latest update to his “Healthy Washington” emergency proclamation, Inslee clarified that local jurisdictions have the authority to continue mask mandates, as King County confirmed it would do on Thursday. But officials throughout the state cannot stop businesses from requiring customers to wear face coverings.

Furthermore, Inslee clarified that businesses in places not bound by a local mandate may adopt an “honor system” in their establishments and assume customers not wearing masks have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest update to his “Healthy Washington” emergency proclamation

Mask or no mask? Here’s what businesses and venues in King and Pierce counties are saying

Inslee also issued a new proclamation Friday requiring that employers obtain proof of vaccination or self-attestation from an employee before allowing them to work on-site without a mask. Employers may also continue to require workers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.


Another proclamation attempts to “safeguard employees” by prohibiting employers from taking “adverse action” against individuals who wish to get vaccinated or are quarantining.

“We call on Washington employers to remain vigilant in their promotion of employee vaccinations, and this proclamation will alleviate another barrier to vaccine access,” Inslee said in a statement.

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