Updates to mask requirements for King County employees

Mask requirements are evolving with changing federal, state, and local public health guidance, and will continue to be updated as needed. Effective immediately, King County employee mask policies are as follows:

If you are working indoors or in an enclosed space with others (for example, multiple people in a vehicle):

  • You must wear a mask whether or not you have been fully vaccinated.

On May 18, the King County Public Health Officer directed all individuals – regardless of vaccination status – to continue wearing face coverings over their noses and mouths when in indoor public settings. Public Health took a number of factors into consideration in issuing this directive, including the number of people who are not yet fully vaccinated, people with certain health conditions who don’t have the option of getting vaccinated, and that children age 12-15 and young adults only recently became eligible for vaccination, among other reasons. 

This directive will remain in effect until Public Health – Seattle & King County confirms that at least 70% of residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot (or in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, their first shot). Public Health currently projects the county will reach the threshold in late June.

If you are working outdoors, you may remove your masks when:

  • You are fully vaccinated and have provided copies of your vaccination cards for review (see below), or
  • You are working at least six feet from others.

Some employees will be required to wear masks while working under the state and CDC guidance due to the nature of their work:

  • This includes employees in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, long-term care, and healthcare settings.

Providing proof of vaccination

The State Department of Labor & Industries requires that we obtain proof of vaccination for employees where they are allowed to work without a mask. Employees can provide acceptable proof of vaccination by showing photos, copies, or actual vaccination cards to designated department representatives. Again, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last shot needed for the type of vaccine you received. 

Departments will be providing the names of designated representatives for your work group in the next couple of days to receive information on vaccination from employees. Departments will not keep copies of vaccination cards but will record that evidence of vaccination, including the date of last vaccination, has been received. This temporary policy applies to all Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders. We expect that this advice will be transitional and will provide further updates as public health guidance changes.