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Washington state adopting national guidance on outdoor face masks

Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Health share support for the new CDC guidelines.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state will adopt new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pertaining to outdoor mask-wearing.

The CDC announced Tuesday that masks are no longer necessary when exercising outdoors alone or with people you live with. 

Masks are also no longer required when gathering outdoors with those who are fully vaccinated. 

Shortly after the announcement, Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted his support.

"The data continues to show that we're safest from COVID-19 when we #TakeItOutside," Inslee tweeted. "With the guidance released by the CDC today, now we know that fully vaccinated individuals can gather or dine safely outdoors in small groups without masking."

Face masks are still encouraged when gathering outdoors with a large group of strangers. 

Earlier this month, Inslee urged the people of Washington to socialize outdoors as much as possible in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. His push to “Take It Outside” was similar to the new guidance from the CDC.

Mask-wearing requirements have also been eased for those who are fully vaccinated, a seemingly immediate benefit of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We've got three vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and they're absolutely effective and safe,” said Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.

Those who are fully vaccinated will also be allowed to put away their masks when dining or gathering with friends outdoors. Health leaders admit they’re still learning more about the virus, vaccines and how to keep everyone safe. 

“And as we get more experienced with the vaccines, we can now say, hey, what are the kinds of things that people can do that's going to protect them,” Shah said. “That's why I've said throughout that, you know, this pandemic continues to evolve, and we have to make sure that we're evolving alongside with it.”