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Masking requirement ending for healthcare facilities

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Effective April 3, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will end the Secretary of Health Mask Order (PDF), which currently requires universal masking in healthcare, long-term care, and adult correctional facilities for people age 5 and older.

DOH issued a statement today, March 3rd, announcing the end of the masking requirement.

The announcement said DOH infection prevention and control guidance continues to recommend masks for patients, healthcare providers, and visitors in healthcare settings.

It added, “Several worker protection requirements enforced by the state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) remain in effect, including that employees and contractors may choose to use facemasks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job without employer retaliation. Additionally, under the state Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA) rules, several key worker protections remain in place until the federal pandemic response declaration ends May 11.”

Local or tribal governments, facilities and healthcare providers remain free to choose to continue to require masks in these or other settings as they choose.

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