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King County mask mandate ends as COVID cases drop to almost zero among the vaccinated

Vaccinated King County residents can unmask in most cases, but businesses can set their own policies.

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[SEATTLE] – (MTN) With 70% of King County residents age 16 and older considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the number continuing to increase, Public Health—Seattle & King County is announcing the end of the King County Mask Directive as of today, June 29. The end of the local mask directive marks a remarkable achievement for the residents of King County as high vaccination coverage has led to drops in COVID-19 cases.

King County has reached this milestone today, two weeks after 70% of residents age 16+ completed their vaccine series, as it takes two weeks after completing the vaccine series to be fully protected. Now that the local directive has lifted, the Washington state mask guidance is in effect in King County. Unvaccinated people will need to continue wearing masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces and continue to take other precautions including avoiding crowded indoor spaces and physical distancing.

The end of the local directive nearly coincides with an end to most COVID-19 pandemic restrictions statewide, including in King County. That happens tomorrow, June 30.

“Thanks to highly effective COVID-19 vaccines and decreasing rates of disease in our community at this time, vaccinated people are no longer directed to wear masks in most indoor public settings but may choose to do so at their discretion.” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“We are in a much better place today, but the course of the COVID-19 outbreak remains unpredictable and we continue to depend on one another for community protection, including through vaccination as well as mask-wearing. People who are unvaccinated are at increased risk for COVID-19 along with people who do not respond to vaccines because they are immunocompromised due to underlying medical conditions. The best protection for both individuals and the community as a whole will be through more of us continuing to be vaccinated.”

Now that the local mask directive has ended in King County, it’s important to know that:

  • Vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most public settings but may choose to do so based on personal considerations.
  • Everyone, vaccinated or not, should continue to keep a mask with them when they go out. Masks will be needed in some indoor spaces.
  • People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings when they enter indoor public spaces, according to state guidance. This helps protect not only adults who are unvaccinated, particularly as more contagious variants are spreading, but also children and those with medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated or from being fully protected by vaccines.
  • Businesses are allowed to request or require their customers and employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
  • If there is a surge in COVID-19 cases, masks have been an important tool to slow the spread, so keep a supply ready.
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