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Learn about the latest mask requirements in King County on our Masking guidance page.

The COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading fast. As of October 25 in King County, proof of vaccination will be required for everyone ages 12+ at outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events or establishments, restaurants, and bars. As of September 13 in Washington state, masks are required for everyone ages 5+ at outdoor events with 500 or more people, and continue to be required in public indoor spaces. Please see information below for further guidance

When should I wear a mask?

Where you are required to wear a mask (ages 5+) and keep physical distancing:

Location Fully vaccinated Not fully vaccinated
Open outdoor public places (At least 6 feet distance from others)    
Crowded outdoor public places (*When 6 feet distance can't be maintained. Outdoor events, busy streets, or trails) Recommended* *
Large outdoor events (500 people or more)
Indoor public places
All doctor's offices, hospitals, long-term care, testing/vaccination sites, correctional facilities, homeless service sites, schools and childcare, or on public transportation

What this means

For businesses, non-profits, and other organizations

If two or more staff members develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period, Washington State requires businesses, non-profits, and other organizations to self-report this information to Public Health:

Report COVID-19 cases to Public Health

Guidance to protect staff and visitors from COVID‑19

All businesses, non-profits, restaurants, religious organizations, and other organizations can support a safe re-opening. Follow Washington state guidance to protect your staff and visitors, with proper indoor air ventilation, vaccination efforts, and mask guidelines. All businesses and organizations are required to post signs explaining their mask policy.

All unvaccinated staff and visitors are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, with reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, as described in the State Health Order on Face Coverings. Any organization may choose to require all staff and visitors to wear masks.

If a person is required to wear a face covering under Washington state guidance, a business must require the person to wear a mask and prohibit entry if they decline. For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Health website.

Available resources for small and midsize employers

The Small Business Flex Fund offers loans up to $150,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Businesses, non-profits, and organizations with fewer than 500 employees can claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations.

Culturally and linguistically relevant help is available in-language for small businesses and nonprofits looking to find and apply for resources, access translation assistance, plan for recovery and safe re-opening, and more.

For you

COVID-19 is still present in our communities. The best protection is to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It's free, safe and effective. Visit our website for community vaccination sites (updated frequently): www.kingcounty.gov/vaccine

Whether or not you are vaccinated, please wear masks in indoor public settings like grocery, retail, theaters and entertainment establishments, at large outdoor events with 500 or more people, and in crowded outdoor settings where people cannot remain at least 6 feet apart. Not everyone has been vaccinated yet, including more than 300,000 children and some people with medical conditions, so everyone should continue to follow King County guidelines, state masking guidelines, and CDC travel guidelines.

Not following the masking order may result in a misdemeanor subjecting the violator to a fine of up to $100 and/or up to 90 days in county jail. Local law enforcement agencies generally have primary enforcement jurisdiction in their localities.

Customers who are concerned that a business is not adequately enforcing the face mask order can submit an anonymous complaint using this online complaint form.

For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Health website.

For large events (500+ participants)

As of September 13 in Washington state, masks are required for everyone at outdoor events with 500 or more people, regardless of vaccination status.

Vaccine verification and negative testing is recommended but not required for large indoor and outdoor events, like concerts, conventions, and sporting events. There are no capacity limitations or physical distancing requirements for outdoor events.

Going forward

King County and Washington state will continue to monitor COVID-19 vaccination and infection rates, as well as review and reevaluate guidelines and restrictions. If cases rise significantly and create a public health concern, reopening plans may be updated as necessary.

Open sign on store being placed in window

Materials

Infographic detailing King County Local Health Order on masks for outdoor events:

Frequently asked questions

There are no restrictions on the number of people who can be in businesses and other public spaces such as restaurants, grocery stores, shops, theaters, and museums. And social distancing requirements are no longer in place. However, individual businesses can choose to maintain these restrictions. 

Yes, any business or organization can require people to wear masks but must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, as described in the State Health Order on Face Coverings. Masks protect children, people with medical conditions and those who are unvaccinated. They also provide an extra layer of protection for people who are vaccinated.

All businesses and organizations are required to post signs explaining their mask policy. All unvaccinated employees and customers are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

To protect employees, customers and visitors, certain protective measures remain important , even if they are not required. COVID-19 is still with us and the virus spreads through the air.

  • Workers and customers who have not been vaccinated must wear a mask.
  • Create an environment where masks are welcome (if not required).
  • Improve indoor air ventilation and filtration (guidance available at Improving Indoor Air).
  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated and tested as needed. Consider providing onsite vaccinations for employees.
  • Continue to encourage outdoor gatherings when possible.

As always, hand washing is a good way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Yes, but you must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities or who can't be vaccinated. If employers plan to allow fully vaccinated employees to work without masks, employees must show proof of vaccination, according to guidance from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

Acceptable types of documentation include:

  • CDC vaccination card
  • photo of the vaccination card
  • documentation from a health care provider
  • a signed statement from the worker or customer

View additional guidance on face coverings for businesses from the Department of Health.

No. The requirements for restaurants are the same as those for other retail establishments.

No. The requirements for religious organizations are the same as those for other businesses and organizations. Visit our Faith-Based Organizations page for more details on how to reopen safely.

As of September 13 in Washington state, masks are required for everyone at outdoor events with 500 or more people, regardless of vaccination status. If proof of full vaccination has been required for admission, then there are no capacity restrictions. There will be no physical distancing requirements, and attendees must follow current masking requirements.

As of October 25 in King County, proof of vaccination will be required for everyone ages 12+ at outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events or establishments, restaurants, and bars.

For information or questions about large events, please contact the Washington State Department of Health.

All organizations are allowed to implement vaccinated and unvaccinated sections in their facilities. For large indoor events with 10,000 or more participants, having vaccinated sections will not allow events to go above the 75% capacity restriction. (For example, you cannot limit capacity at 75% for unvaccinated sections and allow 100% capacity in vaccinated sections.)

If an organization wants to create vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, they should require social distancing and masking in both sections if indoors or at an outdoor event with 500 or more people, as required by King County and Washington state mask orders.

As of October 25 in King County, proof of vaccination will be required for everyone ages 12+ at outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events or establishments, restaurants, and bars.

CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting continue to be important for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Cleaning high touch surfaces, encouraging frequent hand-washing for employees, providing hand sanitizer to customers, and maintaining plexiglass or other barriers to block droplets from sneezes and coughs will continue to reduce illness among customers and employees. Refer to Washington Department of Labor & Industries COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace requirements and guidance for instructions on reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.


Do you have a question that's not listed here?

For answers to additional questions, please see the Washington State Department of Health FAQ on re-opening and FAQ on face coverings.


Link/share our site at kingcounty.gov/covid/current