skip navigation
Share this:


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:

Thursday, September 8

  • Governor Inslee has announced that he will terminate the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency on October 31 and that all remaining COVID-19 emergency proclamations will be rescinded by that date. However, the Secretary of Health will still require face masks in healthcare facilities and long-term care facilities, as well as correctional facilities under certain circumstances, after October 31. Statewide vaccination requirements will end, but employers will still be able to require vaccines if desired. We will post more information to our website and e-newsletters as it becomes available.


Governor’s Emergency Authority

Proclamation 20-05 (February 29, 2020) – Initial statewide COVID-19 emergency declaration and basis for all subsequent emergency proclamations; still remains in effect.

The governor has the authority to issue emergency proclamations under RCW 43.06.220, which has two distinct components: (1) prohibiting activities and (2) waiving or suspending existing statutes.

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.” The “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25 (March 23, 2020), and subsequent extensions and amendments were issued under RCW 43.06.220(1).

A state appeals court, in upholding the governor’s statewide eviction moratorium, noted that this statutory language is “unambiguous” and allows the governor to prohibit any activities the governor reasonably believes is necessary to preserve life, health, property, or the public peace (Gonzales v. Inslee, No. 55915-3-II, Div. II Washington Court of Appeals, February 23, 2022). The Gonzales case did not address the governor’s authority under RCW 43.06.220(2) – discussed below – because the eviction moratorium did not waive or suspend a statute.

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 example of this authority is Proclamation 20-34, which temporarily suspended a portion of an existing state statute requiring local governments to file an annual financial report within 150 days of the close of the fiscal year.

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.


"Washington Ready" Order and Re-Opening Status

Proclamation 20-25.19 (March 11, 2022) – Updates the statewide facial covering requirements to remove the indoor mask mandate (except for healthcare, long-term care, and correctional facilities). Local entities and employers may voluntarily impose stricter requirements within their legal authority. Continues to prohibit local governments and landlords from preventing or prohibiting any person, business, entity, or tenant from imposing face mask requirements or requiring proof of vaccination; also prohibits taking or threatening to take any adverse action against individuals or entities that impose such requirements.

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

  • Proclamation 20-25.18 (February 17, 2022) – Summarizes current facial covering and public health requirements; removes requirement to wear facial coverings at outdoor events or gatherings attended by 500 or more people.
  • Proclamation 20-25.17 (September 13, 2021) – Summarizes current facial covering and public health requirements; now requires everyone to wear facial coverings at outdoor events or gatherings attended by 500 or more people, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Proclamation 20-25.16 (September 3, 2021) – Amends previous proclamation to prohibit local governments and landlords from preventing or prohibiting any person, business, entity, or tenant from imposing face mask requirements or requiring proof of vaccination; also prohibits taking or threatening to take any adverse action against individuals or entities that impose such requirements. Adverse actions include, but are not limited to, denying, suspending, withholding, or terminating a contract, patronage, funding, or benefits, declining to rent or lease property, increasing rental rates, and eviction.
  • Proclamation 20-25.15 (August 20, 2021) – Incorporates new indoor masking requirements into the "Washington Ready" plan and summarizes current requirements for customers, employees, and employers. Local entities and employers may voluntarily impose stricter requirements.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Economic Impacts


Face Masks, Vaccinations, and Testing

Proclamation 21-14.5 (May 20, 2022) – Updates state vaccination requirements to remove the vaccination requirement for outdoor contractors and volunteers whose work does not involve delivery of health care services, such as contracted landscapers, contracted or volunteer wildland firefighters, and contracted construction workers. For more information on the state vaccine requirements, see the governor's vaccine mandate FAQs and the Department of Health FAQs for health care providers, workers, and settings and FAQs for child care, early learning, and youth development providers. The governor has encouraged local governments to implement similar vaccination requirements for their employees.

View previous versions of Proclamation 21-14 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 21-14.4 (March 23, 2022) – Updates state vaccination requirements to also apply to contractors who contract with the Secretary of State's office.
  • Proclamation 21-14.3 (November 24, 2021) – Updates state vaccination requirements to allow "24/7 facilities" to use the services of contractors whose vaccination status has not been verified in response to potentially life-threatening circumstances; see the governor's press release for details.
  • Proclamation 21-14.2 (September 27, 2021) – Updates state vaccination requirements to include on-site contractors who contract with designated state agencies.
  • Proclamation 21-14.1 (August 20, 2021) – Clarifies and expands the vaccine requirements. Requires employees in healthcare and childcare settings, including some local government employees, to be fully vaccinated (two weeks past final vaccination) by October 18; also applies to private long-term care and healthcare workers, school and university employees, and most state employees. Makes additional changes such as clarifications regarding vaccination of contractors. Exemptions will be made for individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons, but there will be no opt-out option for employees to take regular COVID tests in lieu of vaccinations.
  • Proclamation 21-14 (August 9, 2021) – Requires healthcare workers, including some local government employees, to be fully vaccinated (two weeks past final vaccination) by October 18; also applies to long-term care workers and most state employees. Exemptions will be made for individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons, but there will be no opt-out option for employees to take regular COVID tests in lieu of vaccinations.

Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.8 (March 11, 2022) – Removes indoor mask mandate except for health care settings, long-term care settings, and correctional and jail facilities. If a local jurisdiction has imposed stricter requirements, the stricter requirements must be followed. Effective April 18, 2022, the separate CDC face mask order regarding public transportation is no longer in effect and no longer being enforced due to a federal court decision.

Also see Proclamation 20-25.4 et seq. in the "Washington Ready" and Reopening Status section, incorporating face mask requirements into the state's reopening plan.

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

  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.7 (February 16, 2022) – Maintains state indoor mask mandate but removes requirement to wear facial coverings at large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees.
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6 (September 24, 2021) – Technical update to the state face mask order, clarifying that people are not required to wear masks while on the field of play or on the sidelines or similar area at an outdoor sporting event, unless they are spectators.
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.5 (September 13, 2021) – Updates previous facial covering order to require everyone to wear facial coverings at outdoor events or gatherings attended by 500 or more people, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.4 (August 19, 2021) – Requires all individuals five and older to wear facial coverings indoors beginning August 23, regardless of vaccination status. Exemptions include working alone indoors, as well as fully vaccinated individuals when working in areas not generally accessible to the public and when no non-employees are present.
  • Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.3 (June 29, 2021) – Social distancing 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.
  • 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. Order was officially rescinded August 20, 2021 by Proclamation 20-25.15.

Proclamation 21-16 et seq. requring proof of vaccination or negative tests expired on March 1, 2022.

View previous versions of Proclamation 21-16 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 21-16.2 (February 24, 2022) – Rescinds Proclamation 21-16 et seq. requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests for large events. The requirements took effect November 15, 2021 and expired on March 1, 2022.
  • Proclamation 21-16.1 (November 15, 2021) – Technical update to original proclamation, amending the acceptable forms of proof to include a QR code made available by the state Department of Health; no other changes were made.
  • Proclamation 21-16 (October 18, 2021) – Beginning November 15, 2021, requires proof of full vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test result within the past 72 hours, in order for people 12 years of age and older to attend large ticketed or preregistered events in person. "Large event" is generally defined as 1,000 or more people at an indoor venue with defined entrances and exits, or 10,000 or more people at an outdoor venue with defined entrances and exits. Every public communication from the event organizer, including the reservation and ticketing systems, must include notice of these requirements. Religious and K-12 school events are exempt.

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 21-08.1 (February 17, 2022) – Expands the "safe workers" proclamation to prohibit any employer from taking adverse action against an employee for wearing a face covering while engaged in work for the employer.

View previous versions of Proclamation 21-08 et seq. (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 21-08 (May 21, 2021) – Prohibited employers 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.

Proclamation 20-46 et seq. regarding protections for high-risk workers was rescinded effective June 28, 2021. However, 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 20-46.4 (June 21, 2021) – Rescinds Proclamation 20-46 et seq. regarding protections for high-risk workers effective June 28, 2021.
  • 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 et seq. regarding in-person and remote public meetings was rescinded effective June 1, 2022, but certain elements were replaced by new state legislation. For a recap, see our blog post OPMA/PRA Emergency Proclamation Will Expire June 1.

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


Public Records Act (PRA)

Proclamation 20-28 et seq. related to in-person PRA services was rescinded effective June 1, 2022. 

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 and Resources

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

No active proclamations. The governor's prohibition on certain utility shutoffs and late fees expired September 30, 2021, and the remainder of Proclamation 20-23.16 was rescinded on June 2, 2022. The state Department of Commerce has assembled resources for utility customers behind on their payments.

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

  • Proclamation 20-23.17 (June 1, 2022) – Rescinding remaining elements of Proclamation 20-23 et seq.
  • Proclamation 20-23.16 (July 2, 2021) – Final extension of utility shutoff/late fee prohibitions through September 30, 2021.
  • 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 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

No active proclamations. Proclamation 21-09 et seq. regarding eviction moratoriums expired on October 31, 2021.

View previous versions of eviction moratoriums (click to expand)

  • Proclamation 21-09.2 (September 30, 2021) – Technical correction clarifying the effective date for notice requirements. Temporary eviction moratorium "bridge" is extended through October 31, 2021 because the majority of available rental assistance funding has not yet been distributed and full implementation of E2SSB 5160 has not yet occurred.
  • Proclamation 21-09.1 (September 24, 2021) – Extends temporary eviction moratorium "bridge" through October 31, 2021 because the majority of available rental assistance funding has not yet been distributed and full implementation of E2SSB 5160 has not yet occurred.
  • Proclamation 21-09 (June 29, 2021) – Implements temporary "bridge" between expiration of Proclamation 20-19.6 and the protections and programs in E2SSB 5160. Was set to expire September 30, 2021; for a summary see the governor's June 29 news release.
  • Proclamation 20-19.6 (March 18, 2021) – Extended statewide eviction restrictions through 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: September 08, 2022