Face Mask Guidance

Washington State Mask Mandate

As of August 23, 2021, everyone over the age of 2 must wear a face mask in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it now required to wear a mask in indoor public settings?

The order reflects the recommendations of all 35 local health officers in the state of Washington and recent changes to CDC guidance that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public settings, in areas of substantial or high transmission. With the rise of the more infectious Delta variant, every county in Washington is currently categorized as having substantial or high transmission. 

Reinstating mask requirements is necessary in addition to increasing vaccinations, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Washington. 

Where am I required to wear a mask?

The mask mandate applies to most public indoor places including but not limited to grocery stores, indoor event venues, restaurants, theaters, malls, and places of worship. 

Masks also remain required for everyone regardless of vaccination status in public transportation such as buses and trains.

Should I wear a mask outdoors?

People are not required to wear a mask outdoors. However, it is strongly recommend that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings, such as sporting events, fairs, parades, and concerts where it’s more difficult to maintain physical distance between non-household members.

What masks can I use?

Individuals are encouraged to use cloth or disposable face masks. Masks should cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly against the sides of the face. More information on mask use is available on the CDC's website

Are there any exceptions for who has to wear a mask or face covering?

Some people are exempt from wearing masks, including those with certain disabilities or health conditions, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 2.  Children ages 2 to 4 should wear face masks with adult supervision.

School employees and/or students who are present in schools may request a waiver to the mask requirement from their healthcare practitioner and Yakima Health District Health Officer. All mask waiver requests must follow this process:

  • Have primary care physician complete mask waiver form
  • Return completed form to school nurse
  • School nurse will send to the Yakima Health District for Health Officer approval
  • Health Officer will review, approve, or deny, and send back to the school nurse

Click here to download a mask waiver request form.

What else can I do to protect myself?

  • Get vaccinated
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or follow CDC guidance for testing you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.