Washington to lift mask mandate earlier than previously announced

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington will now lift its indoor mask mandate on March 12.

The state was previously going to lift it on March 21, but decided to move the date up based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

The decision comes as case rates and hospitalizations decrease across the west coast. California and Oregon’s governors have also moved up the date they will lift their respective mandates.

“We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement,” Inslee said. “While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”

Masks will be required until 11:59 p.m. on March 11. They will still be required in certain settings like healthcare, correction facilities and long-term care facilities.

New guidance will also be issued for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols.

READ: Inslee to give update on Washington’s indoor mask policy Monday