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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Governor's Proclamations and State Guidance

This page lists selected coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency proclamations issued by Governor Inslee that are relevant to government agencies in Washington State, as well as additional guidance documents from a variety of state agencies.

It is part of MRSC's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Local Governments series.

Note: These proclamations and resources have been selected by MRSC to address the most common issues faced by local governments during the COVID-19 crisis. For the complete list of Gov. Inslee's proclamations, see the governor's Proclamations page. You can also access additional information regarding the state's response at coronavirus.wa.gov and the governor's news releases.

Latest Updates

To help you keep track of the rapidly changing situation related to COVID-19, here is a summary of recent changes to this page:

Wednesday, July 7

Friday, July 2

  • Governor Inslee has issued Proclamation 20-23.16, extending the utility shutoff moratorium through September 30, 2021, coinciding with the expiration of the eviction moratorium "bridge." This will be the final extension; the state Department of Commerce has also assembled resources for utility customers behind on their payments.
  • Governor Inslee has issued Proclamation 20-25.14 (renamed “Washington Ready” from “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery”) summarizing the current facial covering and public health requirements for employers, employees, businesses, and customers, and reiterating that local entities and employers may voluntarily impose stricter requirements (and may not be penalized for doing so).

Thursday, July 1



Governor’s Emergency Authority

The governor has the authority to issue emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220, which has several different subsections.

The governor has sole authority to issue and extend emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220(1), which includes “[s]uch other activities as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.” For instance, the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order (Proclamation 20-25) and its subsequent extensions and amendments were issued under RCW 43.06.220(1).

The governor also has the authority to issue emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220(2), which includes waiving or suspending statutory obligations or limitations. However, these proclamations are limited to 30 days and can only be extended beyond 30 days by concurrent resolution of the legislature, or by the legislative leadership (majority and minority leaders of both houses) if the legislature is not in session.

An emergency proclamation issued under both subsections may require action from both the governor and the legislature (or its leadership) to extend all provisions of the proclamation beyond 30 days. If the legislature does not agree, the portion of the declaration issued under RCW 43.06.220(2) expires after 30 days while the portion issued under RCW 43.06.220(1) remains in effect until terminated by the governor.


"Roadmap to Recovery" Order and Phased Re-Opening

Proclamation 20-25.14 (July 1, 2021) –Summarizes the current facial covering and public health requirements for employers, employees, businesses, and customers, and reiterating that local entities and employers may voluntarily impose stricter requirements (and may not be penalized for doing so). Renames the proclamation “Washington Ready” from “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery.” If statewide infections or deaths begin to rise again and reach a statewide hospital Intensive Care Unit capacity of 90% or greater, restrictions may again be reinstated.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-25 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 20-25.13 (May 21, 2021) – Incorporated the new face mask guidance for fully vaccinated people into the state's reopening plan. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear face masks indoors or outdoors, except for in "CDC exempted locations" (healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, and public transportation). The state will no longer require fully vaccinated workers to wear face masks on the jobsite (except for CDC exempted locations), so long as the employee provides proof of vaccination or a signed attestation form to their employer.
  • Proclamation 20-25.12 (January 11, 2021) – Adopts new regional "Health Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" Plan; effective for duration of emergency unless further amended. The regional plan was replaced by a county-by-county approach in March 2021; see the state's reopening plans below.
  • Proclamation 20-25.11 (December 30, 2020) – Extends restrictions through January 11
  • Proclamation 20-25.10 (December 21, 2020) – Updated guidance for worship, weddings, and funerals, but no changes directly impacting local governments; restrictions still in effect through January 4
  • Proclamation 20-25.9 (December 10, 2020) – Extending statewide restrictions through January 4 with very minor modifications
  • Proclamation 20-25.8 (November 15, 2020) – Significantly restricting in-person social and business activities through December 14
  • Proclamation 20-25.7 (July 24, 2020) – Extends  "Safe Start, Stay Healthy" order until the governor terminates the state of emergency, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded. Incorporates updated facial covering guidance from Order 20-03.1.
  • Proclamation 20-25.6 (July 7, 2020) – Extends order through August 6; extends and clarifies the facial covering provisions; and requires employers to report suspected COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace within 24 hours. Also see supplemental memorandum limiting gatherings to 10 people in Phase 3, effective July 20.
  • Proclamation 20-25.5 (July 1, 2020) – Extends order through July 9, provides clarifications, and adds new requirements for employers to cooperate with public health authorities in the COVID-19 prevention and case investigation.
  • Proclamation 20-25.4 (May 31, 2020) – Extends order through July 1 and transitions to county-by-county phased re-opening plan entitled "Safe Start, Stay Healthy." Effective June 8, all employees must wear a facial covering except when working alone or when the job has no in-person interaction, and employers must provide cloth facial coverings to employees (unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection).
  • Proclamation 20-25.3 (May 4, 2020) – Extending order through May 31 and making adjustments for certain low-risk businesses; allows certain counties to apply for variance to allow additional businesses to re-open
  • Proclamation 20-25.2 (April 27, 2020) – Opening certain outdoor activities on May 5
  • Proclamation 20-25.1 (April 2, 2020) – Extending order through May 4
  • Proclamation 20-25 (March 23, 2020) – Initial "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order
  • Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery – State's recovery plan
    • Safe Start Reopening Guide for State Agencies – Governor Inslee issued a memo to local governments encouraging them to use this guide as a resource when developing their own Safe Start Plans.
    • Phase 3 Safe Start Plan Template – Guidance originally issued in summer 2020 to help local government agencies and other entities develop a written safety plan outlining how they will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This document was issued under the former “Safe Start” plan, which has since been superseded, but the general health and safety considerations are still helpful. However, make sure to check the state’s current public health guidance.
    • Washington Ready and COVID-19 Risk Assessment Dashboard – Shows current phase of each county, as well as data and metrics used to determine the reopening phase for each county
  • Department of Health COVID-19 Resources and Recommendations – Includes information for businesses and workers and resources related to vaccinations, testing/quarantine, contact tracing, face coverings, and more
    • Guidance for Non-Health Care Businesses and Organizations During COVID-19 – Information about ongoing prevention responsibilities, orders and directives that remain in place, and how to respond and work with public health in the event of a COVID-19 case or outbreak
    • Effective June 30, 2021, most of the state's industry-specific guidance – including Professional Services, Public Transportation, Libraries, and Fairs and Special Events – is no longer in effect. However, the Miscellaneous Venues guidance governing in-person public meeting components is still in effect (see OPMA section below).
  • WAC 296-800-14035 – Emergency rule; employers must not allow employees to perform work where a business activity is prohibited by an emergency proclamation and must comply with all conditions for operation required by emergency proclamation, including Safe Start phased reopening requirements for all business and any industry-specific requirements. See rulemaking history.

Economic Impacts


Facial Coverings/Face Masks

Proclamation 20-25.13 (May 21, 2021) – Incorporating the new face mask guidance for fully vaccinated people into the state's reopening plan. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear face masks indoors or outdoors, except for in "CDC exempted locations" (healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, and public transportation). The state will no longer require fully vaccinated workers to wear face masks on the jobsite (except for CDC exempted locations), so long as the employee provides proof of vaccination or a signed attestation form to their employer. However, the proclamation allows businesses or local authorities to impose their own stricter face mask requirements, and local authorities may not prohibit businesses or other local authorities from imposing their own face mask requirements or requiring proof of vaccination.

Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.3 (June 29, 2021) – Social distancing is no longer required for unmasked individuals outdoors, although masks are encouraged for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings. Mask requirements have also been eased for many indoor and outdoor sporting activities. Masks still required for all individuals in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and schools; also see separate CDC order regarding public transportation. If a local jurisdiction has imposed stricter requirements, the stricter requirements must be followed, and any face covering requirements imposed by the governor's order take precedence over this order.

View previous facial covering orders and proclamations (click to expand)

  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.2 (May 15, 2021) – Updated the statewide facial covering requirements to match current CDC guidance, including an exemption in many instances for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (except for in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and schools; also see separate CDC order regarding public transportation).
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.1 (July 24, 2020) – Expanded the statewide facial covering requirement effective July 25, 2020 to require all people to wear a facial covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are outside their "dwelling unit," subject to specific exceptions. Incorporated into Proclamation 20-25.5 et seq.; remains in effect until the governor terminates the state of emergency or until rescinded or superseded by a subsequent order of the Secretary of Health.
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03 (June 24, 2020) – Statewide order required people to wear face coverings inside any building that is open to the public, in healthcare settings, in transit and for-hire vehicle settings, and in outdoor public areas when a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members. Order effective June 26.
  • Proclamation 20-60 (June 24, 2020) – Imposed stricter facial covering requirements for Yakima County only, effective June 26, which were soon expanded statewide
  • Also see Proclamation 20-25.4 et seq. in the "Safe Start, Stay Healthy" Order and Phased Re-Opening section.

Public Health Data & Resources

Proclamation 20-78 (December 14, 2020) – Temporarily prohibiting local jurisdictions from undertaking efforts to terminate or withdraw from a health district or combined city-county health department, unless approved by all participating parties or the state Secretary of Health; effective for the remainder of the emergency or until rescinded/amended.


Employee Leave, Benefits, and Unemployment

Proclamation 21-08 (May 21, 2021) – Prohibits any employer operating within Washington State from taking any "adverse employment action" (defined in the proclamation) against a worker as a result of the worker receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, taking a reasonable period of time off to receive a vaccination or recover from its side effects, taking time off to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, or taking time off if the worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis or treatment. The proclamation takes effect immediately and will remain in effect until the end of the state of emergency, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded.

Proclamation 20-46.4 (June 21, 2021) – Rescinds Proclamation 20-46 et seq. regarding protections for high-risk workers effective 11:59 PM on June 28, 2021; these proclamations have been substantially replaced by ESSB 5115, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), which took effect May 11, 2021. For more information on HELSA, see the Department of Labor & Industries Q&A on Protecting High-Risk Employees from Discrimination During Public Health Emergencies.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-46 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 20-46.3 (April 8, 2021) – Continues protections for high-risk workers for the duration of the emergency, but employers are no longer prohibited from requiring medical verification. Employers may commence this process on April 9 but may not require this information until April 23. In addition, employers are no longer required to fully maintain employer-related health insurance benefits unless the employee is otherwise eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a collective bargaining agreement, or another agreement. Employers must provide written notice of any changes to a high-risk employee’s accommodation at least 14 calendar days in advance. Also see the governor’s FAQs for Proclamation 20-46.3. (The governor’s previous memorandum attached to Proclamation 20-46.2 is rescinded effective April 23, 2021.)
  • Proclamation 20-46.2 (July 29, 2020) – Extending employment protections for high-risk workers for the duration of the statewide emergency, or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded. Includes memorandum clarifying the scope of the order and when an employer may require an employee to submit verification from a medical provider. (Memorandum was rescinded effective April 23, 2021 by Proclamation 20-46.3.)
  • Proclamation 20-46.1 (June 9, 2020) – Extending employment protections for high-risk workers through August 1.
  • Proclamation 20-46 (April 13, 2020) – Providing employment protections to high-risk public and private employees through June 12. Addresses alternative work arrangements, leave options, health insurance protections, and other issues. Also prohibits employers from applying or enforcing any employment contract provisions that contradict or interfere with these provisions.

Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA)

Proclamation 20-28.15 (January 19, 2021) and Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402 (signed January 18, 2021) – Extends OPMA provisions for the duration of the emergency or until amended/rescinded. Continues to tie in-person meetings to the requirements for "business meetings" in the Miscellaneous Venues guidance document (first introduced in Proclamation 20-28.14 but not specifically referenced in Proclamation 20-28.15), which prohibits in-person business meetings in Phase 1 but allows optional in-person meeting components in Phases 2 and 3 subject to room capacity and public health requirements.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-28 et seq. and Attorney General's OPMA guidance (click to expand)

Attorney General's Office

The Attorney General's Office has not provided any further updates to its COVID-19 OPMA guidance since June 19, 2020. Below are the guidance documents issued by the AG's office.

  • "Sixth Update" Guidance (June 19, 2020) – No changes except for extending the guidance to July 1 to reflect Proclamation 20-28.5.
  • "Fifth Update" Guidance (June 1, 2020) – Extending the March 26 OPMA guidance to June 17 and updating the provisions regarding taking "action" at meetings, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.4.
  • “Fourth Update” Guidance (May 14, 2020) – One minor change extending the Public Records Act five-day response provision to May 31, except for records requests received electronically which now must be responded to within five business days, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.3.
  • “Third Update” Guidance (May 6, 2020) – No changes except for extending the March 26 OPMA guidance to May 31 and extending the Public Records Act five-day response provision to May 11, to reflect Proclamation 20-28.2.
  • “Second Update” Guidance (April 24, 2020) – No changes except for extending the March 26 guidance to May 4 to reflect Proclamation 20-28.1.
  • "First Update" Supplemental Guidance (March 26, 2020) – Amends initial March 6 guidance to reflect OPMA suspensions and prohibitions in Proclamation 20-28.
  • Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) General Guidance Regarding Coronavirus (March 6, 2020) – Issued prior to Proclamation 20-28; reflects the normal Open Public Meetings Act requirements.
  • Department of Labor and Industries: Temporarily Removing a Mask – According to conversations with the governor's office and Association of Washington Cities, speakers appearing in-person at a public meeting may follow the guidance for speakers at a news conference and witnesses at a court trial, allowing them to temporarily remove their face masks while speaking only, provided that other conditions are met.

Public Records Act (PRA)

Proclamation 20-28.15 (January 19, 2021) and Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402 (signed January 18, 2021) – Extends existing PRA waivers and prohibitions related to in-person services for the duration of the emergency or until amended/rescinded.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-28 et seq. (click to expand)

Proclamation 20-64.5 (January 19, 2021) and Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402 (signed January 18, 2021) – Prohibits public agencies, including local governments, from releasing the personally identifying and contact information gathered by COVID-19 contact tracers or in customer/visitor/employee logs in response to a public records request. This prohibition does not apply to the name or location of a business or entity that is part of a contact tracing investigation. Extends provisions for the duration of the emergency or until amended/rescinded, whichever comes first.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-64 et seq. (click to expand)


Financial Reporting, American Rescue Plan, and CARES Act

No active proclamations. Proclamation 20-34 et seq. temporarily suspended the 150-day annual financial reporting deadline for report year 2019 until July 2, 2020 and was not extended further.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-34 et seq. (click to expand)


Utilities

Proclamation 20-23.16 (July 2, 2021) – Extends prohibitions on disconnecting utility service or imposing late fees through 11:59 PM on September 30, 2021. This will be the final extension, expiring at the same time as the eviction moratorium "bridge." The state Department of Commerce has also assembled resources for utility customers behind on their payments.

View previous versions of Proclamation 20-23 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 20-23.15 (March 18, 2021) – Extended prohibitions through July 31.
  • Proclamation 20-23.14 (January 19, 2021) – Extended prohibitions through April 30.
  • Proclamation 20-23.13 (December 8, 2020) – Extended prohibitions through April 30.
  • Proclamation 20-23.12 (November 10, 2020) – No changes to utility shutoff/late fee prohibitions, which continue through December 31.
  • Proclamation 20-23.11 (October 14, 2020) – Extended prohibitions through December 31.
  • Proclamation 20-23.10 (October 8, 2020) – No changes to utility shutoff/late fee prohibitions, which continue through October 15.
  • Proclamation 20-23.9 (October 2, 2020) – No changes to utility shutoff/late fee prohibitions, which continue through October 15.
  • Proclamation 20-23.8 (September 2, 2020) – No changes to utility shutoff/late fee prohibitions, which continue through October 15.
  • Proclamation 20-23.7 (July 31, 2020) – Extended utility prohibitions through 11:59 PM on October 15; added new provision prohibiting utilities from disconnecting service to any residential customer who has requested assistance from the utility's COVID-19 Customer Support Program.
  • Proclamation 20-23.6 (July 2, 2020) – Extended utility prohibitions through August 1, extended deadline for utilities to review and post COVID-19 Customer Support Programs to August 1, and provided new COVID-19 Utility Customer Support Program Guidance Document.
  • Proclamation 20-23.5 (June 18, 2020) – No changes to utility shutoff, late fee, or COVID-19 Customer Support Program requirements, which continue through July 28, but recognized the legislative leadership's extension of the utility statutory waivers and suspensions through July 1.
  • Proclamation 20-23.4 (May 29, 2020) – Extended prohibitions through July 28 and requires all utilities providing energy, telecommunications, and water services to develop and prominently post COVID-19 Customer Support Programs by July 10.
  • Proclamation 20-23.3 (May 5, 2020) – Extended prohibitions through May 31.
  • Proclamation 20-23.2 (April 17, 2020) – Through May 4, prohibited all energy, water, and telecommunications providers from (1) disconnecting residential service due to nonpayment, (2) refusing to reconnect residential customers who were disconnected due to nonpayment, and (3) charging late fees or reconnection fees.
  • Proclamation 20-23.1 (March 24, 2020) – Continued to strongly encourage utilities to take reasonable actions to mitigate economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility customers.
  • Proclamation 20-23 (March 18, 2020) – Strongly encouraged utilities to take reasonable actions to mitigate economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility customers.

Gift of Public Funds


Eviction Moratoriums and Tenant Protections

Proclamation 21-09 (June 29, 2021) – Implements temporary "bridge" between expiration of Proclamation 20-19.6 and the protections and programs in E2SSB 5160. Expires September 30, 2021; for a summary see the governor's June 29 news release.

View previous versions of eviction moratoriums (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 20-19.6 (March 18, 2021) – Extended statewide eviction restrictions through 11:59 PM on June 30, 2021. The 2021 state legislature, in Section 4 of E2SSB 5160, stated that this eviction moratorium "shall end on June 30, 2021." It was replaced by Proclamation 21-09.
  • Proclamation 20-19.5 (December 31, 2020) – Extended eviction restrictions through March 31; incorporates newly approved federal funding for rental assistance
  • Proclamation 20-19.4 (October 14, 2020) – Extended eviction restrictions until December 31, with some modifications
  • Proclamation 20-19.3 (July 24, 2020) – Extended eviction restrictions until October 15.
  • Proclamation 20-19.2 (June 2, 2020) – Extended eviction restrictions until August 1.
  • Proclamation 20-19.1 (April 16, 2020) – Extended and expanded the residential eviction restrictions until June 4; also prohibited rent increases or threats to increase rent for residential tenants and for commercial tenants who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 
  • Proclamation 20-19 (March 18, 2020) – Statewide moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent, effective until April 17.

Planning

No active proclamations. Proclamation 20-40 temporarily suspended the State Building Code amendments and Proclamation 20-61 temporarily postponed the deadline for cities to update their transportation improvement programs (TIPs), but both proclamations have expired.

View Proclamations 20-40 and 20-61 (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 20-61 (June 30, 2020) – Suspending requirement for cities and towns to update their transportation improvement programs (TIPs) by July 1. This requirement was suspended through July 30 and was not renewed.
  • Proclamation 20-40 (April 2, 2020) – Delaying the effective date of State Building Code amendments from July 1, 2020 to November 1, 2020. The State Building Code Council (SBCC) later voted to extend the effective date of the 2018 Building Codes to February 1, 2021. See the June 2020 minutes. (On January 8, 2021, the SBCC further extended the effective date to July 1, 2021, but this extension was vetoed by the governor.)

Information Technology and Telecommuting


Last Modified: July 22, 2021