At his Feb. 9 press conference Governor Inslee governor lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate on Feb. 18. Next week, he is expected to announce a timeline for ending masking in indoor settings, including schools.
Here is a summary of other takeaways from his press conference:
- Hospitalizations are declining across the state.
- Washington is rolling back National Guard support.
- The ban on elective surgery is slated to end 2/17
- The State is projecting a steep decline in COVID numbers in the first week of March.
- Other countries experiencing rapid decline in COVID numbers and the U.S. expecting the same thing here.
- Outdoor masking requirements will be lifted by 2/18; but now is not the time to announce date for indoor mask removal.
- After another week of data (e.g., hospital admissions and capacity, transmissions, variants), the Governor's Office will make an announcement next week about when the mask requirement in the state and schools might be lifted.
- The day is coming soon when we will not have a broad mandate for indoor masking, including schools, but not today.
- People will be free to continue to wear masks after the mandate is withdrawn.
- We expect CDC to also make some changes.
- Regard OSPI urging removal of masks in schools, the Governor indicated that this consideration is underway and that OSPI is not recommending that we should do it today.
- Forthcoming changes will be statewide, not regionally.
- Is the state mask mandate is removed: The state will not weaken local health departments' right to make decisions for their own communities. There is not a specific L&I masking requirement, so he does not believe there would be a conflict by removing mask mandate. Businesses can still make decisions about whether or not to mask in workplaces. State removal of mask mandate won’t impact federal requirement for masks on public transportation.
- The state mask requirement for schools will likely be removed at the same time all other indoor mask mandates are revoked.
Click HERE to read a news story on this press conference and HERE to read a statement from Chris Reykdal.