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Washington’s outdoor mask mandate ends today, another month of masking indoors

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ended the state's outdoor masking requirements. Masks will still be required indoors until March 21.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s outdoor mask mandate has ended. Gov. Jay Inslee announced he would lift the outdoor masking requirements on Feb. 18.

The outdoor mask mandate was put in place back in September for events with 500 or more people.

The state has also removed the requirement that hospitals postpone non-elective surgery and ended hospital assignments for National Guard members.

Indoor mask mandate ends March 21

People in Washington will be required to wear masks indoors for another month. Although the indoor mask mandate does have an end date.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday, that face masks will no longer be required beginning March 21 for most settings, including schools and childcare facilities.

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The state will still require masks to be worn in health care environments like hospitals and dental offices. Masks will also be required in long-term care settings and correctional facilities. Federal law also requires masks in certain places like public transportation and school buses.

The state will also drop the vaccine verification requirement for large events starting on March 1.

"We think that’s a very important step in the next part of our journey toward normalcy. I want to thank Washingtonians who have put us in a position to be able to make this progress," Inslee said during the press conference.

"We are in a position to be able to make this progress because people have been careful, have by and large followed our mandates, and have been responsible. And most Washingtonians have got vaccinated as well. This is what has allowed us to be in this position to reduce these mask mandates."

Following the end of the mandate, businesses and local governments will still be allowed to implement their own vaccination or mask requirements for employees and customers. School districts can also decide to have students and teachers wear masks.

Employers must also allow workers to wear masks if they choose.

The announcement comes as the spike in COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant is on a downward trend. Cases in Washington are dropping quickly, a trend that is expected to continue.

WATCH MORE: Spokane school districts react to indoor mask mandate ending

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