Masks will be required at large, outdoor events in King County
Public Health — Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin is issuing a local health officer order to require face masks at any large, outdoor event, regardless of vaccination status.
The updated mask order in King County takes effect Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Under the updated order, masks will be required for all vaccinated and unvaccinated people age 5 and older at any outdoor event with 500 or more people in attendance. Masks are strongly recommended under the order for everyone 5 years of age and older — vaccinated and unvaccinated — in any other outdoor setting where people cannot remain at least 6 feet from non-household members.
Masks are still required for everyone 5 and older in indoor public settings as well, including at grocery stores, malls, gyms, and community centers. This requirement supports the statewide indoor mask mandate.
King County has some of the highest vaccination rates of any large metro area in the United States, but there are still approximately 750,000 people in the county who remain unvaccinated. This includes children under 12 who don’t have the option to get vaccinated.
“We will continue to adapt our response measures to the reality of the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The Delta variant is more contagious through the air, causes more severe illness in adults, and we have a high level of community transmission in King County and Washington state,” Dr. Jeff Duchin said.
“Outdoors is much safer than indoors, but there is risk even outdoors currently when large numbers of people are in close, prolonged contact,” he added. “Layering multiple prevention strategies, including wearing a well-made and snug-fitting face mask when in crowed outdoor locations, is a necessary precaution at this time to limit COVID-19 spread and preventable cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
The county says the latest surge of COVID-19 cases in King County is taking a heavy toll on hospitals and the health care system. Hospitals are more crowded than at any point since the pandemic began.