Masks and Face Coverings

Frequently Asked Questions

Wearing a well-fitted mask or respirator helps to protect you and those around you by preventing the spread of COVID-19. When combined with good ventilation, staying current with vaccines, and other precautions, it can reduce the chances of serious illness and the disruptions that COVID-19 causes in our communities.

Masks continue to be required in some settings. The Secretary of Health Mask Order requires wearing a mask in these settings, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Health care settings
  • Adult prison and jail facilities when the county in which the facility is located has a medium or high CDC COVID-19 Community Level

There are limited exceptions to this requirement; these can be found in the Order.

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as a result of a court order, the CDC Order requiring masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect.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, masks remain an important tool to keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone. In alignment with CDC, the Washington Department of Health recommends workers and passengers two years of age or older wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings, including both conveyances and transportation hubs.

Local health jurisdictions, some school districts, and individual businesses may still choose to require masks. 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 staff, employees, students, yourself, and others. DOH guidance documents provide additional information on where masks are still required or recommended.

Even though masks are no longer required in many places, we recommend that individuals wear masks in the following circumstances:

People may want to continue to wear a mask for added protection against COVID-19, especially those who are immunocompromised, living with someone immunocompromised, or who may just feel safer wearing a mask. Everyone should assess their own personal risk when making this decision.

Additionally, everyone should continue to use COVID-19 prevention measures such as staying up to date on vaccination, handwashing, testing, using good ventilation indoors, and staying home when you’re sick.

Mandates and Orders

Additional Resources, Recommendations and Guidance