Masks and Face Coverings FAQ

Are masks still required in some indoor settings?

While the Secretary of Health Mask Order that required masking in specific indoor settings is no longer in effect, some healthcare settings, school districts, and individual businesses may choose to require masks for their employees, customers, or residents. If you are in an establishment or place where COVID-19 safety measures are in place, please follow them. The goal of these safety measures is to protect staff, employees, students, yourself, and others.

Do I need to wear a mask when using public transportation?
As of April 18, 2022, as a result of a court order, the CDC Order requiring masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. However, we recommend that people wear masks when using public transportation in order to keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone.
Are masks required on school buses?
Masks are no longer required on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including child care programs. School systems at their discretion may choose to require that people wear masks on buses or vans.
Are masks required in health care settings?
While masking for universal source control in healthcare settings is no longer required by the state, healthcare facilities may individually choose to require masking for their employees, patients, or residents. There are also circumstances in health care when masks are needed to prevent the spread of a potential or known infection. Additional information can be found in Resources and Recommendations under Masks and COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Health Care Settings.
What face mask rules do I follow at my job?
COVID-19 remains a recognized workplace hazard. Updated state workplace health and safety guidance for workers on masks is available from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.
Can businesses still require customers wear a mask?
Businesses may require customers wear a mask when frequenting their place of business. If you are in an establishment that has this safety measure in place, please comply with their request. The goal is to protect their staff, yourself, and others.
Are there times when I should wear a mask?
You may choose to wear a mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should also wear a mask to protect others.
What if I am immunocompromised or at risk?
People who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including booster and additional doses, are at less risk of severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19. However, there are prevention steps that people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease can take. People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, who might have an inadequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccines, or who have contraindications to getting COVID-19 vaccines should wear a well-fitting and high-quality mask and maintain physical distance from others if it is not possible to avoid crowded indoor spaces. In addition, we recommend that people who are at high risk of getting very sick mask indoors in public when CDC COVID-19 community level is medium or high. CDC COVID-19 Community Levels (under individual and household level prevention strategies) can help you make informed decisions about prevention strategies based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in your area. People who are at high risk of getting very sick should consider wearing well-fitting masks or respirators even if source control is not required by a health care facility. You can find information about additional prevention measures in Information for Persons Who Are Immunocompromised Regarding Prevention and Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the Context of Currently Circulating Omicron Sublineages. You may also want to speak to your health care provider when making this decision.
What are the requirements for face coverings at K-12 schools or child care facilities?

While masks are no longer required by the state, some school districts or child care facilities may choose to require masks for their faculty, employees, or students. If you are in a setting where COVID-19 safety measures are in place, please follow them. The goal of these safety measures is to protect workers, employees, students, yourself, and others

Can businesses and schools require masks for staff as part of an accommodation to an applicable vaccination requirement?

The lifting of the state-level mask requirement does not preclude a business or school from requiring employees to wear masks, whether as part of an accommodation or otherwise.

The Department of Health does not issue recommendations regarding accommodations for workers with medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine requirement. Each employer must make that determination based on existing guidance and protections for that worker and their coworkers and the customer/students in consideration of the work/school environment and job tasks as well as the resources necessary to provide the accommodation.

The Human Resources department should be responsible for reviewing, approving, and communicating approval of medical and religious accommodation requests. The department should follow a standard process for every request and should examine each request on its own by analyzing the specific facts surrounding the request.