Employees must wear masks when working indoors with public or while in public spaces

All Executive Branch employees are required to wear masks when working in indoor spaces that are open to the public and in public spaces, and it is strongly recommended that employees who work in non-public indoor settings wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, in line with the updated health officer directive for King County and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In King County, similar to other parts of the region and country, COVID-19 rates are on the rise, largely due to the spread of the more contagious delta variant and increasing activities as restrictions have been lifted.

As such, King County has updated its mask directives for Executive Branch employees:

  • Employees and members of the public are required to wear masks in indoor spaces that are open to the public and in public spaces, whether or not they are vaccinated. This includes public lobby and meeting spaces, public indoor recreation spaces, public service counters, and similar spaces open to the public.
  • It is strongly recommended that all employees wear a mask when working in indoor areas not open to the public, whether or not they are vaccinated, to provide additional protection to themselves, co-workers, and customers.
  • Employees who are still required under CDC guidance to wear masks in their work settings include those in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, long-term care, and healthcare settings.

The Temporary COVID-19 Personnel Policy has been updated to reflect these changes.

The updated recommendation from several local health jurisdictions, including Public Health–Seattle & King County, underscores that wearing a mask is an effective and simple measure that people can take to add an extra layer of protection for themselves and their community at a time when rates of COVID-19 are increasing in the region and around the country.

Under the July 26, 2021 Local Health Officer Indoor Masking Directive, everyone five-years of age and older in King County should continue to wear a face covering within indoor public spaces, unless a state-approved method is used to assure that all people allowed inside have been fully vaccinated.

Washington State already requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in indoor public settings, although in stores and other public spaces, there is no practical way to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t. For this reason, universal masking in indoor public spaces provides a more reliable way to ensure everyone is safer as we monitor the current increasing spread of the virus.

The rising number of cases and outbreaks should prompt all of us – vaccinated as well as unvaccinated – to take extra precautions, including wearing a mask indoors. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage all employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best defense against the virus and provide very high-level protection against what’s most important: serious infections with hospitalization and deaths. Find out how and where you can get a vaccine.

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