Snohomish County issues directive requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

The Snohomish County health officer issued a new directive on Tuesday requiring everyone over age 5 to wear a mask in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.

"I strongly urge all people in Snohomish County to voluntarily comply with this directive, and likewise direct all businesses that are open to the public to continue implementing policies and practices to ensure that their customers and employees wear face masks," said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. "We need everyone to take these steps in order to protect the health of our neighbors, customers, workers, and families."

The directive applies to:

  • Public Spaces: retail, grocery stores and government buildings
  • Public Transportation: buses, planes, trains, etc.
  • Healthcare: medical/dental clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities
  • Congregate Settings: schools, correctional facilities and shelters

RELATED: Washington announces COVID vaccine mandate for state workers, health care providers

Snohomish County reported that cases have doubled in the past three weeks from 651 news cases for the week ending July 24 to 1,300 cases in the first week of August.

"Last week we had more than 600 close contacts identified in child care facilities alone, and at least 15 long-term care facilities currently have at least one confirmed case," said Dr. Spitters. "We’ve also seen our testing sites around the county see some of the highest volumes and positivity rates to date. Our situation is quite alarming and we must act now.

RELATED: King County and Seattle see a massive surge in COVID cases

Officials again said vaccines were our best tool to fight the virus.

"While this is encouraging, the surge in cases because of the delta variant shows that we need to move faster," added Dr. Spitters. "Everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated now, but that will take weeks to prevent cases. Wearing a mask now will help us prevent transmission of the disease now. We really need to be thinking now in terms of vaccination and masking in public rather than vaccination or masking."

Read the full directive below:

Stay connected with Q13 News on all platforms:

DOWNLOAD: Q13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: Q13 News Live
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram