OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state will no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to large events beginning on March 1.
The change follows an announcement from Gov. Jay Inslee last month that set dates to roll back many COVID-related rules in the state. Proof of vaccination or negative test had been required at large events in Washington since Nov. 15, 2021.
On March 1, King County also dropped its COVID vaccination requirement for bars and restaurants.
While the state will no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative test, some events or businesses may still choose to require them.
The end of the requirement comes less than two weeks before the state drops its indoor mask mandate. On Monday, Inslee announced the state would be ending its mask requirements on March 12, nine days earlier than previously announced.
The masking requirements will be lifted at 11:59 p.m. on March 11 and come as a result of the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released last week.
“We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health (DOH), and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement,” Inslee said in a statement. “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."
The announcement comes following an update from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week, that eased the mask guidelines for more than 70% of Americans. Those guidelines mean the CDC no longer recommends masks for most people in Washington, including Spokane and King counties.
Health officials in Washington, Oregon, and California met over the weekend and agreed to drop most of the masking requirements together on March 12.
Masks will still be required in some settings after that date. Here is the breakdown from Gov. Inslee.
Masks not required starting March 12
- Schools, childcare facilities, and libraries
- Restaurants and bars
- Houses of worship
- Gyms, recreation centers, and indoor athletic facilities
- Grocery stores, businesses, and retail establishments
Masks still required after March 12
- Healthcare and medical facilities, including hospitals, outpatient, dental facilities and pharmacies
- Long-term care settings
- Public transit, taxis, and rideshare vehicles (federal requirement)
- Correctional facilities
- Private businesses and local governments that want to require masks for their employees, customers, or residents.
Private businesses can still require masks if they choose.