MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Washington’s COVID emergency order will not end yet, says Gov. Inslee

Mar 1, 2022, 8:06 AM

covid emergency...

A digital highway sign promotes COVID-19 vaccination on May 14, 2021 in Vancouver, Washington. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Many of the state’s COVID mandates are coming to an end — including the indoor mask mandate, now set to end March 12 — but don’t expect the same for the COVID-19 emergency order.

Gov. Inslee moves end date for state’s indoor mask mandate up to March 12

“There are some things that we still need to do in regard to this pandemic, several things that we need to keep that as a tool in this response,” Governor Jay Inslee said about the emergency order.

The governor said Monday that one of the reasons for keeping the emergency order in place is that it lets the state extend the mask mandate at hospitals, where he says it is still needed.

“We’ve got to keep our hospitals safe, and that means we do need — for the foreseeable future — keeping the mask mandate in our hospitals, to make sure they can continue to function, nurses don’t get sick, patients don’t get sick,” Inslee said.

“We need the emergency order to protect the ability of employees to wear a mask, should they desire to do so,” he added.

The governor says the order also enables Washington state to get more federal aid.

“We think it is also of assistance, at least right now, in the ability to get some federal funds,” he said.

Emergency powers reform clears state Senate; Republicans claim bill ‘does nothing’

The state Senate passed a bill — SB 5909 — that would let legislative leaders limit the governor’s emergency powers after 90 days, if they wish. The bill is currently in committee in the House with just nine days left in the 2022 regular session.

KIRO Newsradio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

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Washington’s COVID emergency order will not end yet, says Gov. Inslee