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Final statewide masking mandate to end in WA

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Come April 3, the state of Washington will no longer require masks in health care facilities and prisons.

The last mandate in Washington, an order requiring masks in health care and correctional facilities, is coming to an end.

It comes as the state — and the nation — pass another major pandemic milestone. It was three years ago this week that the first case of Covid-19 in the nation was detected and reported in King County.

A few months later, health officials started recommending masks. By June 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a face mask mandate across the state.

Masks are now credited, by public health officials, with limiting the spread of Covid-19.

But Washington state health officials say Covid rates and hospital stays have continued to decline since the start of 2023. That's why they say they are lifting the final mandate.

The state will not require masks in health care facilities, long-term care, or correctional facilities starting April 3. Oregon is dropping all of its requirements, too.

Keep masks handy, though.

People could still see requirements in any facility or private business, because they can set their own mask requirements.

And while it will no longer be the law, indoor mask wearing, especially in crowded areas where social distancing is not an option, remains highly recommended by Washington's Department of Health and King County Health Officer Jeff Duchin.

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