Updated guidance on masks and Future of Work planning

Yesterday Gov. Inslee announced that most coronavirus restrictions in Washington would end today. This is great news and signals that, for those who have been fully vaccinated, we can begin to get back to the things we love doing without restrictions.

As we move into the recovery and rebuilding phase of the pandemic, we need to remember that the pandemic is not over, and COVID-19 is still present in our communities. Those who have yet to get vaccinated remain at risk, and we need to be mindful of virus variants.

Following the Governor’s announcement, we have updated the mask guidance for King County employees:

  • If you have provided verified proof of vaccination to your HR Manager or their designee, you are not required to wear a mask when working indoors or outdoors, unless you are required to wear masks while working under the state and CDC guidance due to the nature of your work. Employees who are still required to wear masks in their work settings include those in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, long-term care, and healthcare settings. 
  • If you have not provided verified proof of vaccination to your HR Manager or their designee, you are required to wear a mask when working indoors, outdoors, and in an enclosed space with others (for example, multiple people in a vehicle). The only time you do not need to wear a mask is if you are working at least six feet from others outdoors.
  • Employees can provide acceptable proof of vaccination by showing photos, copies, or actual vaccination cards, or a copy of their state vaccine data record or other verified medical record, to their HR Manager or designated department representatives. Departments will not keep copies of vaccination cards; however, they will record that the employee has been vaccinated, which vaccination was received, and the date of last vaccination. Employees may choose to self-initiate the COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration process through their NEOGOV Dashboard (click on Dashboard > Forms > COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration).

This information applies to all Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders.

We now begin the process of implementing our Future of Work plans and the way we will deliver services going forward. July 5 is the last day of mandatory telework for Executive Branch employees, but this does not mean a mandatory return to your worksite. Each department’s plan is tailored to its operations, customers, and employees. Some require moving to a new location; some will deliver services primarily in person, primarily remotely, or a combination of the two. Your departments will continue to share their plans and expectations with you over the coming weeks and months. We will gradually reopen in person customer service operations and facilities when it makes sense operationally. At this time, most customer services will remain online or by phone and we have no immediate plans to reopen the Administration Building, Chinook Building, or King Street Center to the public. 

This is a big transition and I know that you may have questions. We have built an Intranet site to provide resources, tools, and answers to your questions. You can visit it here (employee access only). We will regularly update this site with new information as conditions evolve.

Throughout the pandemic I have said that once we begin to recover, we have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild and create a fairer, more just society, and we need to do it with urgency. As I said in my State of the County address, if there’s anything we’ve learned this year, it’s that we must act now. We acted with urgency against the pandemic, and we must act with urgency against the other epidemics we face: racism, carbon, and homelessness. Together that’s what we will do.

It has been a long journey to reach this point. I am grateful for everything that you have done to keep you, your colleagues, and our community as safe as possible. I look forward to the work we will do together in this next phase to build a fair, just, welcoming King County where all people can thrive.


Dow Constantine, King County Executive