Washington Face Mask Rules

Yesterday, Governor Inslee issued an order directing businesses to require and enforce the use of face coverings by all customers or visitors. 20-25.6 – COVID-19 Safe Start-Stay Healthy (tmp)

An overview of the Order has also been released with additional information about  exemptions from the mask requirements for people with certain disabilities or health conditions, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and children under the age of 2. Overview of mask order_July7

The July 7th Order follows Order 20-03 from the Washington Secretary of Health which requires every person in Washington State to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in any indoor or outdoor public setting, including, but not limited to:

  • Inside any building, including, but not limited to, any business, that is open to the public;
  • In healthcare settings, including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician’s or dentist’s office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
  • While in line waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit, or while riding in a taxi, private car service, ride-sharing vehicle, or other for hire vehicle; and
  • In outdoor public areas, including but not limited to public parks, trails, streets, sidewalks, lines for entry, exit, or service, and recreation areas, when a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from any non-household member.

In the employment context, as of June 8, all employees are required to wear a cloth facial covering except when working alone* in an office, vehicle, or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction. This applies to employees working in separate rooms or cubicles if the walls are below face level when working at their desks. Employers must provide cloth facial coverings to employees, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection.** Employees may choose to wear their own facial covering at work, provided it meets the minimum requirements.

*According to L&I, someone is considered to be “working alone” when they’re isolated from interaction with other people and have little or no expectation of in-person interruption. How often a worker is able to work alone throughout the day may vary.

Examples of working alone include:

  • A lone worker inside the enclosed cab of a crane or other heavy equipment, vehicle, or harvester.
  • A person by themselves inside an office with four walls and a door.
  • A lone worker inside of a cubicle with 4 walls (one with an opening for an entryway) that are high enough to block the breathing zone of anyone walking by, and whose work activity will not require anyone to come inside of the cubicle.
  • A worker by themselves outside in an agricultural field, the woods or other open area with no anticipated contact with others.

** L&I has issued guidance on proper face coverings for different businesses/industries: Which Mask for Which Task

General re-opening information for businesses in Washington can be found here: https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources/covid-19-reopening-guidance-businesses-and-workers

Common questions (and answers) about masks can be found here: https://lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/coronavirus-covid-19-worker-face-covering-and-mask-requirements-questions

General guidance on face masks/coverings, including links to additional resources, are here: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/information-for/you-and-your-family/face-masks-or-cloth-face-covering



Leave a Reply