Gov. Inslee To End COVID State Of Emergency & Protocols
Gov. Jay Inslee is lifting Washington's COVID-19 State of Emergency as well as all remaining pandemic orders at the end of October.
Washington is one of a handful of states to still have active emergency orders in place. North Carolina ended that state’s order last month.
Inslee is also ending all 23 remaining COVID-19 protocols on October 31.
Washington was the first state in the U.S. with a reported case of COVID-19 in January of 2020.
Inslee initially issued the state's pandemic State of Emergency on February 19, 2020.
“We’ve come a long way the past two years in developing the tools that allow us to adapt and live with COVID-19,” Inslee said. “Ending this order does not mean we take it less seriously or will lose focus on how this virus has changed the way we live. We will continue our commitments to the public’s well-being, but simply through different tools that are now more appropriate for the era we’ve entered.”
Washington still has vaccine orders in place for employees at state agencies. It requires one vaccination, but does not require a booster shot.
Vaccination requirements for health care and education workers will end, but employers will continue to be able to require them if they choose.
The state will still require masks at medical facilities and long term care centers in the Washington, as well as correctional facilities under certain circumstances after the state of emergency ends.
Inslee says he's also looking at options to ensure there are protections for workers who choose to wear a mask in their workplace.
“I can’t express enough how grateful I am for all the health care workers, public health teams, and other frontline workers who have helped save thousands of lives during the past two years and will continue to support our communities in staying safe and healthy,” Inslee said.