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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 17, 2022
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA – Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah have announced that the statewide orders requiring face coverings in public will be ending. The mandate for events with more than 500 people will expire February 18 and the broader orders will end on March 21, in most indoor settings, including K-12 schools and childcare facilities. Masks will still be required in health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long term care settings, and correctional facilities.
Businesses and local governments can still choose to implement vaccination or face mask requirements for workers or customers, and school districts can still choose to have students and teachers wear masks. Federal law still requires face masks in certain settings such as public transportation and school buses.
“The fact that these restrictions are being relaxed over the next few weeks is a sign that Snohomish County’s residents have taken the necessary steps to put the omicron variant behind us,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “The sacrifices everyone has made over the last two years have saved lives and prevented the worst from happening. While the pandemic is not over, we have reached a point where vaccines, knowledge about the virus, and the adaptability of our institutions have given us this opportunity to take a step forward. We will continue to monitor local hospitals and ensure we are prepared in case a new variant arrives.”
The masking requirement was established at the state level by the Secretary of Health’s order for masking in public indoor settings and the Governor’s proclamation with requirements for worker health and safety. These will continue to remain in effect through March 20.
It’s important to note that this announcement does not signal the end of the possible need for masking nor the end of the COVID pandemic. This is a sunsetting of the requirement for universal indoor masking at the current time. The Local Health Officer’s order requires that all people in Snohomish County, including employers and organizations, continue to follow the state requirements, including the masking order that remains in effect until March 20, as well as all other state requirements still in effect beyond March 20.
“What has been announced reflects the ongoing evolution of our COVID response,” noted Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Masks themselves are not going away as a prevention measure. I still strongly recommend that all people in high-risk settings, all people who are not up-to-date on their vaccines, or those who are immunocompromised should continue to wear them in public indoor and crowded outdoor settings.”
Masks will also continue to be required for isolation and quarantines practices. If someone who was COVID-positive is returning to work, school, or other public settings after a 5-day isolation period, they must wear a well-fitting mask for days 6-10 after their symptom onset or positive test result. Anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 must continue to wear a mask when around others for the full 10 days after exposure.
For more information, the Snohomish Health District has developed a list of commonly asked questions about mask requirements.
“It is important that we remain vigilant and flexible for future times when it may become advisable to resume universal use of masks to protect ourselves, others, the healthcare system and other essential societal functions,” added Dr. Spitters. “In the meantime, anyone who feels more comfortable wearing one should also continue doing so.”
The Health District urges all people, enterprises, and organizations in Snohomish County to comply with these requirements and to respect the right of people to continue wearing masks, even in settings where they are not required.
As a reminder, a partnership between Snohomish County, the Snohomish Health District, Everett Public Library and Sno-Isle Libraries offers free KN90 masks at local libraries. For more information, visit www.snohd.org/masks.
The Ash Way Park & Ride site is now offering testing on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and vaccines on Fridays and Saturdays. Operations for all days are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Testing is also available at the Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds location seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The vaccine clinic at the Everett Mall remains open 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Anyone age 5 or older can be vaccinated at this site, though a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under the age of 18.
Appointments are encouraged for testing and vaccines, but walk-ins are accepted based on availability. To schedule an appointment for testing, visit www.snohd.org/testing. Visit www.snohd.org/covidvaccine for vaccine appointments, as well as to view a calendar of community mobile clinics or other providers offering vaccines in Snohomish County.
Those without internet access, needing language assistance, or requiring additional support in scheduling can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing or vaccine appointment. Callers after hours or on holidays or weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.