Statewide mask mandate expanded to include large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- According to a news release from the county, Governor Inslee announced Thursday that the current mask mandate will be expanding effective Monday, September 13 to include large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees. This new mask mandate will apply to all people five years and older in Washington State, and will be required regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

The current statewide indoor mask mandate has been in effect since August 23, requiring that all people over the age of 5 wear a mask in indoor public settings, including places like restaurants, grocery stores, and malls. The state has been strongly recommending masks outdoors in crowds of any size if social distancing could not be maintained, in the hopes of increasing public protection against COVID-19.

“We are hopeful that this new expansion of the statewide mask mandate will add an additional layer of protection for our community,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “While we are still urging people to get vaccinated, we know that masking can be an effective tool to protect our most vulnerable populations, including our young children who cannot get vaccinated yet.”

The newly expanded mask mandate will apply to all large outdoor events that hold 500 attendees or more, which could include events such as outdoor festivals, concerts, or fairs.

Even in outdoor settings, the virus can still easily spread in large groups where physical distancing is difficult. Wearing masks in crowds of 500 or more will help to reduce community transmission and protect children under the age of 12, people who are immunocompromised, and unvaccinated adults.