Mask mandate starts again across Washington

The statewide indoor mask mandate is now back in effect for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

That includes places such as gyms, restaurants and grocery stores and all other indoor public spaces.

The Department of Health is also recommending masking in crowded outdoor settings such as concerts, fairs and farmers markets.

Exemptions include office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated, working alone indoors, working alone in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction, and small private indoor gatherings where everyone is vaccinated.

Back in June, Gov. Jay Inslee ended the more than yearlong indoor mask mandate for those who were fully vaccinated.

So, for the past few months, businesses were enforcing their own masking rules for employees and customers.

Inslee said the expansion of the mask mandate comes after Washington broke the previous record for COVID hospitalizations set in September.

The change is something gymgoers KIRO 7 spoke with are literally sweating over.

“It sucks! I mean, you’re doing cardio, you’re breathing really hard, it’s clinging to your face,” said Holly Hanna.

“Inslee said it was all going to be fixed by doing what he said. It wasn’t. Now, we have to wear this mask again. For what? Because we’re already vaxxed? That makes no sense to me,” said Christopher Chan.

The majority of people KIRO 7 spoke to say they understand the science and the rise of the delta variant, but that doesn’t mean the rollback isn’t annoying or frustrating.

As of Monday, Washington is the sixth state in the nation to enforce a statewide mask mandate.