OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — As of Monday, anyone attending an outdoor event with 500 or more people in Washington state is required to wear a face-covering, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced the mandate last week, KING5 reported.
Though outdoor events are generally considered to be lower risk for COVID-19 transmission, five outdoor super-spreader events infected more than 500 people at concerts, fairs and rodeos across Washington, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.
The outdoor mask mandate comes as Washington state’s hospitalization rates are at the highest level ever during the pandemic, according to state data. The Washington State Department of Health is encouraging hospitals to “limit and curtail elective procedures” in order to maintain enough capacity, Shah said.
The Washington Department of Health website said there could be fines, though it is unclear if they apply to indoor or outdoor mask requirements.
“We hope people will wear a face covering to protect the health of their friends and loved ones. However, not following the order may result in a misdemeanor subjecting the violator to a fine of up to $100 and/or up to 90 days in county jail,” the site said.
In Oregon, people are required to mask in most public outdoor settings — regardless of vaccination status — where physical distancing is not possible. This rule went into effect Aug. 27. In both Oregon and Washington, masks, face coverings are required in all indoor spaces.