Inslee Mask Announcement Expected Thursday

OLYMPIA, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to host a news conference Thursday in Olympia, where he is likely to reveal more details on Washington’s path toward easing indoor mask restrictions across the state.

Last week, Inslee identified Feb. 18 as the end date for mask requirements for outdoor events and an emergency order limiting non-urgent surgeries, but the governor said it was too soon to lift indoor mask rules until more data on the downward trajectory of the omicron surge was available.

“Today is not the day to lift all the masking requirements,” Inslee said last Wednesday. “We are obviously having conversations and an intensive review of what day it will be and when we can do this. It is no longer a question of if — it is a question of when. I expect to share that date next week with Washingtonians after we have another week or so of data to give us an even higher level of confidence of where we’re going to be sometime in March.”

Inslee scheduled a news briefing for 2 p.m. Thursday, which his office said would include “plans for transitioning to the next phase of Washington state’s COVID-19 response.” The governor will be joined by state Secretary of Health Umair Shah and Lacy Fehrenbach, the state Department of Health’s deputy secretary for COVID response.

The Thursday announcement follows Wednesday’s news out of King County, where officials announced a March 1 end date for the vaccination verification program, which required businesses, restaurants and other venues to check patrons’ vaccination status before they could dine indoors, attend concerts or participate in large outdoor events.

Source: Bellevue Patch