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Gov. Inslee: Washington to follow CDC’s lead on relaxing mask rules for fully vaccinated

David Dinsmore of Smokey Point, Wa. receives his COVID-19 vaccination from Kristine Gill, with the Seattle Fire Department’s Mobile Vaccination Teams, before the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles at T-Mobile Park on May 05, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Gov. Inslee announced Thursday that Washington state will follow the updated guidance about masks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people.

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The CDC’s new guidelines ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for those who are fully vaccinated, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

Inslee says the state will soon update its own rules to reflect the change, stressing that the rules only apply to those who have been fully vaccinated. To count as fully vaccinated, it must be two weeks past the last shot in the vaccination series. So for Johnson & Johnson that’s two weeks past the one-shot dose. For Moderna and Pfizer, that means two weeks past the date of your second dose.

“That shot is a ticket to freedom from masks, and we hope people will avail themselves to it,” Inslee said about the COVID-19 vaccines.

In Washington, the governor clarified that masks will still be required in hospitals, long-term care facilities, doctor’s offices, correctional facilities, homeless facilities, schools, and on all public transportation.

Individual businesses, including stores and restaurants, will still legally be allowed to require customers and employees to wear masks if they wish, but there will no longer be a requirement from the state for those who are fully vaccinated.

At this point, the state is not requiring businesses to check for proof of vaccination at the door, but the governor says that they are allowed to check if they so choose.

“They are legally entitled to do so — if a grocery store or a restaurant wants to check people’s status, they have the legal right to do so,” Inslee said.

Gov. Inslee says you can show that you’ve been vaccinated with the card that you received at the time of your shot. The state Department of Health also recommends you take a photo of the vaccination card and store it on your phone as a backup.

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“There’s lot of really good incentives for getting this vaccine: One, you might not die. Two, someone you love might not die. Three, someone you love may not end up in the hospital. Four, you now can go out without a mask,” Inslee said. “But we’re looking for even more incentives. As other states have done, we’re looking for ways to expand people’s incentives to pursue this safe, effective, life-saving vaccine.”

If you’re hesitant about getting vaccinated or have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, talk to your doctor or health care provider. Find a vaccine location near you with the state’s Vaccine Locator tool or call 800-525-0127 to get help finding an appointment.

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