Masks to be required at large outdoor gatherings in Washington

Coronavirus

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Starting next week, the state’s indoor mask mandate will be expanded to include outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, regardless of vaccination status.

The new requirement takes effect on Monday. It comes just a few days after similar outdoor mask mandates took effect in the state’s two most populous counties, King and Pierce, due to rising COVID-19 cases.

A universal mask mandate for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status went into effect in Washington state two weeks ago. Inslee also expanded the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate to all K-12 employees, in addition to employees at state colleges, and most childcare and early learning providers.

The mandates follow weeks of escalating COVID-19 case rates and increasing hospitalizations caused primarily by the delta variant of the coronavirus Washington state recently broke its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which was previously set in December.

Last month, Oregon was the first state to reinstitute a statewide mask requirement for outdoor public areas where people are close together.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.

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