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Washington state to align mask rules with new CDC guidance ‘as soon as possible’

Mask sign in Seattle. (J. Warne)

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it would be updating its recommendations on masks, to allow for fully vaccinated people to go maskless in specific outdoor settings. In the days ahead, that will see the Washington State Department of Health updating its own guidance to align with the CDC.

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Shortly after the CDC made its announcement, the state DOH tweeted that, “if you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

“The Washington State Department of Health intends to follow the CDC’s new guidance regarding mask wearing for fully-vaccinated people outdoors,” DOH Public Information Officer Frank Ameduri further clarified in a written statement to MyNorthwest. “I expect our guidance and web content to be updated within the next few days, and it will be the same as the CDC’s new guidance.”

According to the CDC, it’s now considered safe for people regardless of their vaccination status to not wear a mask while walking, running, or biking outdoors with members of their household, and while attending small, outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends.

Those who are fully vaccinated can also go maskless while dining outdoors at restaurants with friends from multiple households, but are still advised to wear a mask at crowded outdoor events like live performances, parades, or sporting events.

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Mask wearing is also still advised for vaccinated and unvaccinated people going to barbershops or salons, indoor shopping centers, museums, public transit, small indoor gatherings, indoor movie theaters, full-capacity worship services, indoor dining, and indoor “high intensity” exercise classes.

While Washington state has yet to officially update its existing mask mandate to account for this new guidance, the DOH says it is “currently reviewing the mask order for possible revisions,” and expects to have that process complete “as soon as possible.”

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