Gov. Inslee: ‘No plans currently’ to lift Washington’s mask mandate

Nov 16, 2021, 12:57 PM | Updated: 10:44 pm
COVID, mask mandate...
A sign at Lumen Field in Seattle reminds everyone to wear masks. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday that she would be lifting the city’s indoor mask mandate, effective Nov. 22. In Washington state, though, COVID case rates remain at concerning levels, with no plans to lift the state’s own mandate in the immediate future.

Statewide outdoor mask mandate at large events takes effect

Bowser noted in her announcement that lifting the city’s mandate “does not mean everyone needs to stop wearing their mask, but it does mean that we’re shifting the government’s response to providing you this risk-based information, and recommending layering strategies as the best way to protect yourself and the community.”

As of mid-November, the seven-day average of new reported daily COVID cases in D.C. sat around 82, with 70% of its population ages 12 and up having been fully vaccinated.

Comparatively, Washington state’s seven-day case rate remains at roughly 158 (per 100,000 population). That’s well below the 300-plus daily cases the state was seeing at the peak of its fall surge, but still more than the 137 daily cases seen during spring’s surge. Over 71% of Washington’s population ages 12 and up have been fully vaccinated.

Given that, state officials remain hesitant to lift Washington’s rules regarding facial coverings.

Find a location to get vaccinated here

“There are no plans currently to lift the mask mandate,” a spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee’s office told MyNorthwest. “We’re encouraged that COVID activity continues to decline over time but the numbers remain high.”

The state will continue to monitor COVID activity in the weeks and months ahead, with Inslee’s office stating that the governor plans to adhere to CDC guidance in the meantime.


Correction: A previous version of this report did not explain that the case rate in Washington state is determined by the number of cases among 100,000 population. The number of total cases across the state in the past week ranges between 1,312 and 2,242.

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Gov. Inslee: ‘No plans currently’ to lift Washington’s mask mandate