Indoor mask mandate to end March 21 in JeffCo and across Washington State

Masks won't be required in schools, grocery stores, indoor spaces

Posted 2/17/22

The public health mandate that requires face masks in indoor settings will be lifted in Jefferson County on Monday, March 21, county health officials announced Thursday.

“While the COVID-19 …

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Indoor mask mandate to end March 21 in JeffCo and across Washington State

Masks won't be required in schools, grocery stores, indoor spaces

Posted

The public health mandate that requires face masks in indoor settings will be lifted in Jefferson County on Monday, March 21, county health officials announced Thursday.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, we are transitioning into a new phase of our response,” said Dr. Allison Berry, public health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

“With COVID-19 case numbers decreasing and rising levels of population immunity in our community, we do believe that by the March 21, it will be safe to relax some of our COVID-19 mitigation measures,” Berry said.

The move comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee's announcement Thursday that the statewide mask mandate for schools, grocery stores, and other indoor spaces will end on March 21. 

Inslee was joined at his online press conference by State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. 

"This is a big moment," Reykdal said. "This takes the state mandate out of the way."

Masks were instrumental early in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, he added, and vaccines and rapid testing have provided another step toward normalcy. 

"Hang with us until the 21st," Reykdal said.

Inslee noted the controversy over the indoor mask order.

"I know there are some people that think it should have been ended earlier," he said.

Others, he said, think it's being ended too soon.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this," the governor said.

To those who think the mask mandate has lasted too long, Inslee said: "We lost a thousand people in January to this decision. A thousand people."

Jefferson County has a separate mask mandate that was approved by Berry in August 2021.

Berry said earlier that she planned to lift the Jefferson County mandate in tandem with the state's end of its mask mandate.

The two-week COVID case rate in Jefferson County was 742.47 per 100,000 people Thursday.

Berry said the rate was still high but represented a 50-percent drop since the start of the year.

She said she expects that rapid decrease to continue if masking in indoor, public places continues until March 21. 

“It is critically important that we all keep masking up indoors now so that we can get to that safer threshold sooner rather than later,” Berry added.

Comments

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  • my.kee

    RE: "Indoor mask mandate to end March 21 in JeffCo"

    Dr. Berry did not say this in the quote that you published. Please be more careful in your headlines.

    Saturday, February 19 Report this

  • Dcc

    It is a state decision, so unless people behave really badly in the next four weeks, the mandate will end in Jefferson County as well on that date.

    Sunday, February 20 Report this

  • my.kee

    RE: The mandate will end in Jefferson County as well on that date.

    Maybe. Local health jurisdictions can impose their own local mandates that are stricter than the state’s. It's Dr. Berry's call.

    Sunday, February 20 Report this

  • Dcc

    As far as I know, Dr. Berry has stated that she will go with the state's timeline.

    Monday, February 21 Report this