Masking is optional in most public settings. There are many reasons someone may choose to mask, and it remains an effective tool to help reduce spread of COVID and similar respiratory illness. 

Though local health jurisdictions have the authority to put in place mask requirements at the county level, the Snohomish County Health Department is aligning with the statewide rules and is not currently putting more strict masking requirements in place for Snohomish County. 

Masks still are required in a number of healthcare facilities in patient care areas when certain thresholds for COVID, flu or RSV are exceeded:
Update on Healthcare Facilities Masking Consensus Statement 
- Joint statement on regional healthcare facilities’ masking thresholds

More information:

Mask recommendations

The Snohomish County Health Department recommends the wearing of masks in certain situations, especially when CDC community transmission levels are medium or high. To check our local levels, please go here. The following is a partial list of places where masks are recommended:

  • on public transportation, including on planes and buses as well as at stations or transit centers. 
  • in high-risk settings, such as crowded locations where ventilation is poor and/or distancing is not possible.
  • for people whose vaccination status is not up-to-date or who are immunocompromised to continue to wear them in public indoor and crowded outdoor settings.
  • if someone who was COVID-positive is returning to work, school or other public settings after a 5-day isolation period, that person should wear a well-fitting mask for days 6-10 after their symptom onset or positive test result.
  • Anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask when around others for the full 10 days after exposure.
  • Private businesses and organizations can also require or request patrons and staff to mask up. Please respect the rules of the space you’re in.

We encourage people to remain vigilant and flexible for future times when it may become advisable for everyone to mask up to protect ourselves, others, the healthcare system and other essential societal functions.

What mask to wear

We recommend a high-quality medical mask such as an N95, KF94 or KN90. The next best option is a disposable medical procedure mask, and you can improve on it by layering a cloth mask on top.

Make sure masks fit snugly over your nose and mouth, and do not pull mask down to talk, smile or cough.


Guidance for schools and child cares is available from the Washington State Department of Health.

Requirements for students, staff and visitors of K-12 schools is established at the state level by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Washington State Department of Health, the Secretary of Health, and the Department of Labor & Industry’s COVID-19 requirements for worker health and safety. 

Local health jurisdiction requirements may be more but not less restrictive than these directives. The Snohomish County Health Department provides support to schools in their implementation of these state requirements and has not established more restrictive ones.