11:34 AM: Just in: As of March 12th, the state and King County will lift their indoor-mask rules. That’s nine days earlier than Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week. His new statement – issued in conjunction with the governors of Oregon and California – says in part:
This new date does not change any other aspect of the updated mask requirements Inslee announced last week. Masks will still be required in certain settings including health care, corrections facilities, and long-term care facilities. The Washington State Department of Health will be issuing new guidance for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols.
Here’s a graphic from the governor’s office, with more details:
The governor’s office says the new date is possible because “of new [CDC] guidance and continued decreases in hospitalization rates.” We’ll add to this as more information becomes available.
1:08 PM: The governor has just begun speaking. Meantime, the King County decision is explained here.
1:56 PM: The governor’s briefing/Q&A has just concluded. He said he does not anticipate changing the date again. He also says (as he did last week) that the emergency declaration regarding the pandemic will remain in place, in part because that facilitates some policies staying in place such as the health-care masking requirement.
8:02 PM: If you’re wondering about schools, Seattle Public Schools has reiterated that its policy will remain in place TFN.