King County Indoor Masking Directive
All King County residents, fully vaccinated or not, are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks in indoor public areas.
All King County residents age five years and older are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in all indoor public areas.
For anyone who is not fully vaccinated, the State Department of Health Order also remains in effect: People who are not fully vaccinated are required “to wear a face covering in any indoor public setting, or when outdoors and unable to maintain six feet of physical distance from others.”
King County's Local Health Officer Directive urges residents to wear face coverings in all indoor spaces that are open to the public. Examples include:
- Retail and grocery stores
- Government buildings
- Offices and other places of employment that are open to the public
Businesses that are open to the public are strongly encouraged to continue ensuring their customers and employees wear face masks.
Everyone should also follow a state Health Order to wear a well-fitted mask in:
- Correctional facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Schools and childcare settings
- Public transportation
- Health care settings such as doctor's offices, long-term care, and hospitals
The Directive will remain in effect until 70% or more of adults 16 years of age and older are fully vaccinated in King County.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health have clarified that ending indoor mask mandates should be linked to local COVID-19 rates and vaccination coverage rates.
If you have questions about COVID-19, please call the King County COVID-19 Call Center from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 206-477-3977. Language assistance is available.
More information about face coverings
Wear face coverings that offer two or more layers of tightly woven fabric such as cotton and cotton blends that are breathable and provide a snug fit without gaps. The face covering must fit over your nose and mouth. It is important to save medical-grade surgical masks and N95 respirators for healthcare workers and people who have special health needs.
To protect yourself, wear face coverings properly.
- Your mask should cover your nose and mouth at all times.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on a face covering and after removing it.
- Change your face covering when it gets moist.
- Wash your face covering after each use.
Some people do not need to wear masks, including:
- Babies and toddlers under age 2 should never wear cloth face coverings. Children ages 2-4 are encouraged to wear a face covering with adult supervision.
- Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a face covering.
- Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate.
- Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues.
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help.
Why is wearing a face covering important?
Cloth face coverings protect other people from getting COVID-19 from us when we talk, cough or sneeze.
Between 20-40 percent of people with COVID-19 don't show any symptoms but can still spread the virus to others. Recent research suggests wearing a face covering can significantly reduce the incidence of COVID-19. Until more of us are vaccinated, wearing masks will prevent spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated populations, including children younger than 12 and people with compromised immune systems.
Businesses, employers, and non-profits
The Local Health Officer indoor mask Directive (updated 5/20/21) strongly urges King County residents to continue wearing masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status. The Directive remains in effect until 70% of residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated. The Directive has some implications for businesses, especially for those with indoor spaces that the public routinely enters. Learn more about how the Directive impacts businesses in FAQs for Businesses.
Businesses and non-profits can post signage advising individuals to wear face coverings on the premises. Businesses can download a sign that can be used for this purpose below.
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Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/masks