Breaking News
More () »

Gov. Inslee announces Washington outdoor mask mandate will be lifted Feb. 18

Gov. Inslee said he will share an update on the state's indoor mask mandate next week.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — During a press conference in Olympia on Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state of Washington will lift its outdoor mask mandate on Feb. 18, 2022. He also said an update on the state's indoor mask mandate will come next week.

This week, both Oregon and California announced plans to lift mask mandates in indoor places, leaving many in Washington wondering if the Evergreen State will be next.

Inslee said in a brief statement on Monday that state officials are tracking cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

"We are optimistic that these numbers will continue to decline in a way that will let us revisit the mask requirements in the near future," the statement said.

We could get further clarification on Wednesday afternoon. That’s when Gov. Inslee will hold a press conference in Olympia. The Governor’s Office has not said what specifically Inslee plans to address, but if the Governor doesn’t bring up masking rules he is sure to be asked about them.

In Washington, a statewide indoor mask mandate has been in place since Aug. 23, 2021. In September, an outdoor mask mandate was put in place for events with 500 or more people.

The state has seen a downward trend in cases over the past few weeks, with health officials saying they expect we are past the peak driven by the Omicron surge.

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said in an interview with KING 5 on Tuesday that he would support making masks optional in schools to let families decide.

“It's time to make that next transition in this pandemic,” Reykdal said. “The downside of wearing masks – whether it's speech therapy or learning or that social interaction, the frustration or all the discipline of teachers asking kids to put them up or the community frustration – those variables didn’t counter the health benefits in the beginning but now with vaccination those variables become more important.”

WATCH MORE: Spokane City Council formally censures Jonathan Bingle over refusal to wear mask

Before You Leave, Check This Out