Snohomish County weighing outdoor mask mandate, possible vaccine requirements

Sep 8, 2021, 12:38 PM | Updated: 2:59 pm
Snohomish County...
Could expanded mask mandates be on the way for Snohomish County? (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

With King and Pierce counties enacting a new outdoor mask mandate, and King County working to develop vaccine requirements for select indoor businesses, Snohomish County is now looking into additional mitigation measures of its own.

What you need to know about Washington’s mask mandate

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have continued to rise across Washington, now sitting at the highest level they’ve been in the state since the start of the pandemic. That trend has extended to Snohomish County as well, having seen triple the amount of COVID patients on ventilators in the county over the last seven days compared to the previous week.

“We are really in a tough spot here,” Snohomish County Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said in a recent briefing.

As for whether that will see the county follow the lead of King and Pierce counties to enact a mask mandate for large outdoor events, Spitters says that a decision could come “later in the week.”

“There’s certainly some merit in it,” he noted. “Large outdoor venues in Washington state — as well as in other places around the country — have reported large numbers of cases coming off of large gatherings.”

“It does speak to the benefits of masking up in a crowd outdoors,” he continued. “Issuing a similar directive is under consideration in Snohomish County.”

‘No reason to abandon a career’ over COVID vaccine mandate

King County also announced its intention this week to explore new vaccination requirements for indoor businesses such as bars and restaurants, targeting October to have the new rules take effect.

While stopping short of an exact timeline for similar requirements in Snohomish County, Dr. Spitters did indicate that they could be an option down the road.

“It’s a reasonable thing to consider,” he said. “We’ll be looking at whether that adds to what we’re trying to achieve here in terms of mitigating the impacts of the pandemic, but I have nothing specific to report at this time.”

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Snohomish County weighing outdoor mask mandate, possible vaccine requirements