Expanded mask mandates take effect in King, Pierce counties

Sep 7, 2021, 5:20 AM
delta, mask...
Pedestrians fill the sidewalk in Seattle near Pike Place Market on June 10, 2021. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Expanded mask mandates kick in Tuesday for two of the largest counties in Washington state: King and Pierce.

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King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin was first to announce the updated mandate, which will require everyone — regardless of vaccination status — to wear a mask at outdoor events with more than 500 people in attendance.

“Outdoor activities remain much safer than indoors. But there is risk even outdoors currently when large numbers of people are in close, prolonged contact,” Duchin said.

Under the local health officer order, masks are also strongly recommended for everyone 5 years of age and older in any outdoor setting where people cannot remain 6 feet away from non-household members.

There is greater risk of the virus spreading at large, crowded outdoor events, particularly when distancing cannot be maintained, when unvaccinated people are present, and if there’s loud talking, singing, or shouting, Duchin explained.

Masks are already required in indoor public spaces in Washington, regardless of vaccination status, due to a statewide mandate from Governor Jay Inslee.

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The expanded mask mandate in Pierce County is the same as in King County, and also takes effect Tuesday. Anyone over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face covering at large, outdoor events in Pierce County. Large gatherings means any event with 500 or more people.

“We also recommend you wear mask in any crowded outdoor setting where physical distancing is not possible,” Pierce County said in a news release.

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Expanded mask mandates take effect in King, Pierce counties