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as a result of a court order, the CDC Order requiring masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect.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:
- When indoors in public transportation settings
- When indoors in certain settings when CDC COVID-19 Community Level is medium or high – see COVID-19 Mask Guidance for the list of settings
- Indoors when CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high
- When they have COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19, in accordance with recommendations in What to do if you test positive for COVID-19, COVID-19 Symptom Decision Trees, and What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19
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
- The general public order: This order from the Secretary of Health spells out when and where Washingtonians need to wear a face mask. People are individually responsible to comply with this order.
- L&I Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19: Washington employers and employees should continue to follow workplace guidance from the Washington State Department Labor & Industries (L&I) about the use of face coverings, masks, and respirators.
- General and specific DOH mask guidance can be found in COVID-19 Mask Guidance.
Additional Resources, Recommendations and Guidance
- Stay up-to-date on the current COVID-19 situation in Washington, Governor Inslee's proclamations, symptoms, and how and when people should get tested
- COVID-19 resources and recommendations (DOH)
- Frequently asked questions (DOH)
- Business settings poster (PDF) | Russian | Spanish | Vietnamese
- Healthcare settings poster (PDF) | Russian | Spanish | Vietnamese
- Washington State Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- Find your local health department or district (DOH)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) (CDC)
- Workplace COVID-19 resources(L&I)