King County drops mask mandate for vaccinated people

People who are fully vaccinated in King County will no longer need to wear masks as of June 29.

The announcement came from Public Health – Seattle & King County, and lifts the former mask restrictions that have been evolving since spring 2020. While those who are fully vaccinated can ditch the masks, people who are unvaccinated must continue wearing them in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.

In King County, 70% of residents aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The county’s public health agency said in a press release that the end of the local mask directive marks a “remarkable achievement for the residents of King County as vaccination coverage has led to drops in COVID-19 cases.”

The end of the mask directive coincides with the lifting of most pandemic restrictions statewide on June 30.

Even though masks are not required by public health officials, everyone should continue to keep a mask with them when they go in public, and businesses are still able to require people to wear masks when in their stores.

And if there is another surge in COVID-19 cases, masks will be an important tool. Public Health is urging residents to not throw away their masks just yet.

People who choose not to receive vaccinations, most of whom don’t have a medical reason that prevents them from getting one, will be susceptible to COVID-19 and its many variants.

“Because COVID-19 spreads through the air, including from people who do not have symptoms, it is critical for those who are unvaccinated to continue to wear masks indoors and limit indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people to decrease their risk for acquiring COVID-19 and spreading the infection to others,” the press release from Public Health states. “With more contagious variants circulating, if COVID-19 increases in the future, mask-wearing may be recommended more widely to prevent the spread of infection.”

Even vaccinated people may choose to continue wearing masks in public spaces.