Gov. Inslee is 'optimistic' Washington will revisit mask mandate in the near future

FILE - Surgical masks on a white surface stock photo. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

California and Oregon are soon lifting their mask mandates, but will Washington follow suit? Governor Inslee is optimistic it could happen.

"We are continuing to track cases, hospitalizations and deaths," reads a statement from the Governor's Office. "We are optimistic that these numbers will continue to decline in a way that will let us revisit the mask requirements in the near future."

Washington's mask mandate has been in effect since Aug. 23, 2021.

Oregon’s statewide mask requirement for indoor public places will be lifted no later than the end of March, health officials announced Monday. California is ending its mandate on Feb. 15, though unvaccinated individuals will still be required to wear masks in indoor public settings.

This comes as Washington's COVID-19 hospitalizations fall from their January peak, fueled by the omicron variant. The state has also reopened its online portal for ordering rapid antigen tests, putting Washington in a better spot in its pandemic response than it has been in recent months.

Of course, even if state officials lift the mask mandate, counties and cities can still enforce their own requirements.

As of Feb. 8, Washington state has not indicated a date, even a speculative one, for the mask mandate to lift. King County and Seattle also have a mask mandate for large outdoor events.

READ MORE: Oregon, California ending mask mandates soon

RELATED: COVID-19 hospitalizations falling throughout Washington

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