Page updated: July 30, 2021, 10:00 a.m.
For more information, see this overview of COVID-19 statewide face covering requirements and the Masks and Face Covering Guidance from Washington State Department of Health.
Face coverings are an additional tool we can use to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. They protect others by blocking droplets that contain the virus from spreading to others when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or speaks. After vaccination, masks are the best tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They provide an additional layer of protection even if you're already vaccinated.
Washington State residents and visitors who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings in most public indoor settings.
Public spaces include:
Everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, still needs to wear masks or face coverings in the following settings:
This order will remain in effect until it is repealed or replaced by the Secretary of Health, or until it is ended by the Governor.
In accordance with CDC and DOH guidance, the Whatcom County Health Department encourages fully vaccinated people to wear masks, especially in pulblicindoor spaces where you can't be sure of everyone else's vaccination status. Masks provide an extra layer of protection from COVID-19.
Everyone should wear face coverings in public indoor settings unless they are in one of the following groups:
Face coverings should fit snugly over your nose and mouth and consist of multiple layers. If your mask or face covering only consists of one layer, consider doubling up.
Information about choosing the right mask, and wearing it correctly, is available from the CDC.
The CDC and L&I don’t recommend face shields as a substitute for a cloth face covering (mask). But face shields can be used by children in child care and K-12 schools.
Additional guidance on using face coverings is available from the CDC.
If you are an individual in need of a mask, please contact your local social service provider.
This directive affects community members who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind in different ways than others. We’ve compiled resources to explain how the directive applies to you if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind .
As of June 14, 2021, fully vaccinated workers don’t need to wear masks or socially distance at work unless their employer or local public health agency requires it. Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose in their vaccine series.
In order for fully vaccinated employees to work mask-free, employers must first confirm the employee’s vaccination status by:
Employers must be able to provide documentation if requested by L&I proving they’ve confirmed their employee’s vaccination status. Check L&I’s Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 for examples of acceptable documentation.
All employees who are not fully vaccinated are still required to wear a cloth facial covering unless they work completely alone or the job has no in-person interaction.
Employers must provide cloth facial coverings to employees, unless a higher level of protection is required by their job duties. Employees may choose to wear their own facial covering at work, but it must meet the minimum level of protection based on their exposure risk.
The minimum level of protection required for workers, based on exposure risk, can be found in this chart from L&I. Additional guidance from L&I about when employees should use cloth face coverings and when they are required to use respirators can be found in this publication.
Businesses are permitted to allow fully vaccinated customers to refrain from wearing masks on business premises at the business’s discretion. Businesses may, if they wish, continue to require all customers to wear masks on business premises regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Businesses have the right to request proof of vaccination before allowing customers to go mask-free at their business.
Customers are not required to provide documentation or a reason if they are unable to wear a face covering. Businesses are encouraged to offer some kind of accommodation for these customers such as curbside pickup, delivery, or a scheduled appointment when physical distancing can be ensured. More information can be found in the overview of face covering requirements.
People are urged to comply with this State Health Order because it is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Members of the public are required by law to comply with this order. Noncompliance with this order may be subject to criminal penalties pursuant to RCW 43.70.130(7), RCW 70.05.120(4), and WAC 246-100-070(3).
Please do not call 911 to report non-compliance with this order. Only call 911 in an emergency.