Washington State face covering requirement

New Washington State Face Covering Requirement
In Effect Beginning Friday, June 26
Updated – July 8, 2020  

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a statewide mandate requiring cloth face coverings in public spaces to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Use of a cloth face covering is required (ages 5+) inside all Metro Parks buildings and gated facilities. In accordance with the Governor’s orders, cloth face coverings must also be worn in outdoor locations whenever a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained from those who do not live in the same household.

Every person in Washington must wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth in indoor and outdoor public settings.
Specifically, individuals must wear cloth face coverings when they are:

  • inside any building or gated facility (e.g. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Fort Nisqually) that is open to the public.
  • in outdoor public areas, such as public parks, trails, recreation areas, or lines for entry/exit, when they cannot maintain social distancing of at least six feet from others outside their household.

Temporary removal of face coverings in public settings under certain circumstances 
Individuals may temporarily remove their face coverings under the following conditions:

  • when eating or drinking at a restaurant with adequate social distancing
  • when walking, running, hiking, bicycling, or engaged in another indoor/outdoor exercise activity with adequate social distancing
  • in an outdoor public area with adequate social distancing, except when inside a gate facility.
  • as part of communication with a deaf or hard of hearing individual

Individuals who are exempt from the state face covering requirement

  • Children under 5 are not required to wear face coverings. Children ages 2, 3 and 4 are encouraged, but not required, to wear face coverings with close adult supervision. Children under 2 should not wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are face coverings important?
Recent research suggests that wearing a face covering can prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. When you wear a face covering, you help protect your loved ones and others around you, even if you don’t think you have COVID-19. Face coverings can reduce the release of virus particles into the air when a person with COVID-19 speaks, coughs or sneezes.

What constitutes a face covering?
A face covering can be a mask, scarf or bandana. It must cover the nose and mouth.

Who should wear a face covering?
Most people should wear a face covering in public. Wear a face covering in indoor public spaces except when you eat or drink, and outdoors when you cannot stay six feet away from others at all times.

Some people should not wear cloth face coverings:

  • Children under two years of age
  • People who have disabilities that prevent them from (1) comfortably wearing or taking off face coverings or (2) communicating while wearing face coverings
  • People who have respiratory conditions or breathing trouble
  • People who have been told by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings

When should I wear a face covering?
You need to wear a face covering when you are in public with other people, especially indoors.  You do not need to wear one when you exercise outdoors with plenty of space. It’s a good idea to keep a face covering in your pocket in case you come across other people.

Washington State Department of Health

Posted In: COVID-19