President Joe Biden on Thursday introduced expansive rules mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the coronavirus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. Additionally, roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will have to be fully vaccinated. Biden is also requiring vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out — covering several million more workers.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced a new statewide requirement for masks to be worn at large outdoor gatherings. Washington is riding the crest of its fifth and largest wave of COVID-19. Fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, hospitals are seeing record-levels of coronavirus patients, and large outbreaks are being traced to outdoor music festivals and county fairs. Starting Monday, the state’s current requirement for indoor facial coverings in public spaces will be expanded to include outdoor events with 500 or more attendees,
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.