Fans, most without masks, cheer at Seattle’s Lumen Field during the Aug. 28 preseason game between the Seahawks and the Los Angeles Chargers. That will change Sept. 7, when a mask mandate for large outdoor events begins. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

Fans, most without masks, cheer at Seattle’s Lumen Field during the Aug. 28 preseason game between the Seahawks and the Los Angeles Chargers. That will change Sept. 7, when a mask mandate for large outdoor events begins. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

King County reinstating outdoor mask mandate due to COVID-19

Facemasks will be required for outdoor events of 500 or more people, vaccinated or not.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases Washington state’s most populous county is reinstating outdoor mask mandates for large events and strongly encouraging people to wear masks in other outdoor settings when they can’t remain six feet apart.

In a statement Thursday Public Health — Seattle & King County said as of Sept. 7 there will be a requirement for facemasks for outdoor events of 500 or more people. The directive applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people over age 5.

The recommendation for outdoor masks when people are unable to socially distance from non-household members is also for people 5 and up regardless of vaccination status.

“With high rates of disease spread, and our health care system straining to keep up, it is time to take additional steps to keep ourselves and our communities safe,” the health agency said.

King County, which includes Seattle, is home to about 2.2 million people. Just last week County Executive Dow Constantine had boasted that King County had one of the highest vaccination rates of any large county in the U.S. As of last week more than 70% of people 12 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In its statement the county health agency noted the region’s high vaccination numbers but said “there are still approximately 750,000 people in King County who remain unvaccinated and susceptible to COVID-19.”

That number includes children under 12 who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 shots.

Health officials said vaccinated people were at a “much lower risk” catching and spreading the disease then unvaccinated people, “but the risk is not zero.”

This week state health officials said the delta strain of the COVID-19 virus is filling hospitals at an “alarming” rate and continuing to strain health care workers. There are now about 1,500 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals.

“Layering multiple prevention strategies, including wearing a well-made and snug-fitting face mask when in crowed outdoor locations, is a necessary precaution at this time to limit COVID-19 spread and preventable cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.

As of last week people in Oregon, regardless of vaccination status, were once required to wear masks in most public outdoor settings.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

This impacts how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Washington state license plates prices increase July 1

The price of a new plate will rise from $10 to $50, and replacing a lost plate will increase from $10 to $30.

Hundreds gather to listen to a lineup of guest speakers during Snohomish County’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the county courthouse in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade; states can ban abortion

The decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

FILE - In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, a crane and boats are anchored next to a collapsed "net pen" used by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm Atlantic Salmon near Cypress Island in Washington state on Aug. 28, 2017, after a failure of the nets allowed tens of thousands of the nonnative fish to escape. A Washington state jury on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, awarded the Lummi Indian tribe $595,000 over the 2017 collapse of the net pen where Atlantic salmon were being raised, an event that elicited fears of damage to wild salmon runs and prompted the Legislature to ban the farming of the nonnative fish. (David Bergvall/Washington State Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)
Jury awards $595,000 to Lummi tribe for salmon pen collapse

The tribe sued, saying the pen owner had not reimbursed the tribal government for its clean up effort.

FILE - Alaska Airlines planes are parked at gates with Mount Rainier in the background at sunrise, on March 1, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A union has reached a deal Wednesday, June 22, 2022, with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines for a two-year contract extension that provides substantial raises for 5,300 gate agents, stores personnel and office staff, as well as for ramp workers who load cargo. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines reaches contract deal with some workers

Raises for gate agents, stores personnel, office staff, as well as ramp workers who load cargo.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle facing $117 million revenue shortfall in 2023

The city’s budget chief says there’s no easy way to bridge the gap.

A view from the lower undeveloped part of the Flowery Trail neighborhood looking at spots where slash piles have been burned - outside Chewelah, Wash. (Erick Doxey / InvestigateWest)
Growing sprawl in state’s woods comes with high wildfire risk

Policymakers and homeowners are scrambling to manage the so-called “wildland-urban interface” to mitigate the threat.

The kids thought it was milk. It was actually floor sealant

In Juneau, containers of the chemical were stacked on the same pallet as boxes containing pouches of milk.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Initiative to change Seattle elections heads toward ballot

The initiative would alter the way Seattle elects mayors, city attorneys and City Council members.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood climber supports first all-Black Mount Everest summit bid

Fred Campbell was part of the historic expedition, but got sick and had to turn back before the submit.

The A.J. Eisenberg Airport in Oak Harbor. (Karina Andrew / Whidbey News-Times)
Local pilot plans to buy Whidbey Island airport

Robert DeLaurentis, known as the “Zen Pilot,” submitted a letter of intent to purchase the A.J. Eisenberg Airport.