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Washington state’s mask mandate goes into effect Monday

August 23, 2021 GMT

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A universal mask mandate for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status went into effect in Washington state on Monday.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the expanded mask mandate last week. He also expanded the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate to all K-12 employees, in addition to employees at state colleges, and most childcare and early learning providers, KING5 reported.

The mandates follow weeks of escalating COVID-19 case rates and increasing hospitalizations caused primarily by the delta variant of the coronavirus. Inslee’s office said Washington state recently broke its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which was previously set in December.

The new rules also come after Snohomish, Thurston and Pierce counties issued masking directives, and King County released a universal masking recommendation for residents.

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The governor’s office is working with state partners to reestablish an enforcement system, according to a spokesperson.

“The governor’s office and other state partners are working together on reestablishing an enforcement system. There will be more details in the coming days,” the spokesperson said.