COVID articles

Inslee Announces Educator Vaccination Requirement and Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate 

(8-18-2021) Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education, as well as an expansion of the statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. The governor was joined for the announcement by Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah.

K -12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. The requirement includes public, private and charter schools, and comes as schools across the state prepare to return for the 2021–2022 school year amid rapidly increasing case and hospitalization numbers. This does not impact students, regardless of age.

“It has been a long pandemic, and our students and teachers have borne their own unique burdens throughout,” Inslee said. “This virus is increasingly impacting young people, and those under the age of 12 still can’t get the vaccine for themselves. We won’t gamble with the health of our children, our educators and school staff, nor the health of the communities they serve.”

Inslee also announced a vaccine requirement for employees in Washington’s higher education institutions, as well as for most childcare and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households.

Inslee Issues Proclamation Requiring Vaccination for Most State Employees, Health and Long Term Care Workers

(8-09-2021) Gov. Jay Inslee today issued an emergency proclamation mandating that most state executive branch employees and on-site contractors and volunteers, along with public and private health care and long-term care workers, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18. 

Inslee announced the proclamation at a press conference in Seattle Monday afternoon. Individuals included in the proclamation's mandate must receive the final dose of their vaccination no later than October 4 so as to be fully vaccinated two weeks later on October 18 to comply with the proclamation.

Exemptions from the vaccine requirement are allowed for those individuals who are entitled to a disability-related reasonable accommodation or a sincerely held religious belief accommodation.   

"Getting vaccinated against COVID is a public good. We have come so close to defeating this deadly disease,” Inslee said at the press conference. “We have the tool — the vaccine — to get this era behind us. It is safe, it is effective, and you will never regret getting it.”

Washington Re-Opens More Than a Year After COVID-19 Shutdown

(6-30-2021) Restaurants and bars and other businesses can resume full indoor occupancy levels and physical distancing requirements will be lifted.

Although the state is fully reopening after enduring 16 months of restrictions, some of the safety mandates, like face masks, will remain. There will be fewer masking requirements though masking rules will remain in place at health care settings correctional facilities, homeless shelters and schools.

Masks will continue to be required for unvaccinated employees who return to work indoors. Businesses can continue to choose to require masks for their customers, regardless of vaccination status.

An official statement, from Jay Inslee, addressing the reopening of our state was posted to the Governors website. “Washington has come a long way since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country was found in our state in January 2020, and that is in no small part due to Washingtonians’ dedication and resilience in protecting themselves and their communities throughout the pandemic," he said in a written statement. "Even though Wednesday marks a new stage in our continued efforts to defeat this pandemic, we still have work to do. Continued success depends on everyone getting vaccinated and encouraging any loved one who has not yet received this lifesaving vaccine to do so, and quickly."

Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30 and short-term statewide move to Phase 3

(5-13-2021) The state will fully reopen on June 30th and all restrictions on businesses will be lifted. This means in-store retail and restaurants will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity again and businesses will not be required to enforce a state mask mandate unless it is their individual discretion to do so. A full reopening could happen sooner if 70% of those 16 and older get their first vaccination in the coming weeks.

State moves to Phase 3 of Recovery Plan

(3-11-2021) Effective March 22, the entire state will enter Phase 3.Gov. Jay Inslee today announced that Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery will be transitioning from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process. The governor also announced a new third phase of the Roadmap, a return for in-person spectators for professional and high school sports.

Sports guidance will change in Phase 3 to allow in-person spectators at events for the first time in a year. Spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor venues with permanent seating with capacity capped at 25%. The change affects both professional and high school sports, as well as motorsports, rodeos, and other outdoor spectator events. Social distancing and facial covering are still required.

Additionally, the governor announced that starting Wednesday, March 17, everyone in Phase 1B, Tier 2 will be eligible for their COVID vaccine. This includes workers in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, firefighters and law enforcement, among others. Phase 1B, Tier 2 also includes people over the age of 16 who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high-risk.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

Snohomish County Moves to Phase 2 on Feb 1

(1-28-2021) Snohomish County will move into Phase 2 in Washington's Roadmap to Recovery plan on Monday, February 1st. This means less restrictions on dining, entertainment and other activities. It took hard work to get here and we need to continue making good choices that will continue this positive trend. Vaccinations remain in Phase 1b1. For more info, go to or

What's Open-
Healthy WA Roadmap to Recovery

(1-11-2021)  Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, all counties/regions in Washington are subject to the public health measures outlined in the governor’s regional-based Healthy Washington plan. Detailed guidance and information is available on the governor's website.
As of Jan. 11, all counties/regions were in Phase 1.

If you think a business isn't operating in compliance with the Safe Start plan, you can anonymously report a violation.

Commit to fewer, shorter, smaller social gatherings

(November 2020) We must prevent runaway spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.  Our individual actions make a difference. Fewer, shorter and safer interactions are crucial. Shrinking your social circle and skipping indoor gatherings are both important right now. Reducing close contact with others is paramount. Staying home is still safest. If you do go out, keep it quick, keep your distance and wear a face covering. Recreate and do business locally to avoid spreading the virus across county lines. Limit the number of people outside your household that you gather with every week. If you feel symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.