Current Guidance and Requirements
Updated March 15, 2022
Business guidance and requirements from the governor’s office, state agencies and public health officials continue to evolve as circumstances around the pandemic change. This page will be updated with the most recent federal, state and local guidance and requirements for business operators.
Specific guidance and restrictions may vary at the local level. Be sure to check with your local public health officials for any additional requirements that may be in place in our area.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)
- As of March 12, 2022, masks will no longer be required to be worn in many settings.
- Local health jurisdictions and individual businesses may still choose to require masking.
- Employees can wear masks if they choose to. Businesses can’t punish workers who wear a mask, take time off to get vaccinated, or seek treatment for COVID-19.
- Masks or respirators will continue to be required in health care settings, long-term care, and correctional facilities.
- Masks will continue to be required on public transportation, per Federal requirements.
COVID-19 remains a serious workplace hazard, and businesses must continue to reduce risk of transmission for their workers. Risks vary from workplace to workplace.
At a minimum, all employers must do the following:
- Keep workers known or suspected to have COVID-19 from working around others by following appropriate isolation or quarantine guidance as outlined by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
- Provide hand washing facilities and supplies, and regularly clean and sanitize surfaces.
- Educate workers about COVID-19 prevention in the language they understand best.
- Provide written notice of potential COVID-19 exposure within one business day to all workers, and the employers of subcontracted workers, who were at the same work site as a person who tested positive (without disclosing the person’s identity).
- Report COVID-19 outbreaks to L&I within one business day when they involve 10 or more workers at a workplace or job site with more than 50 workers.
- Address COVID-19 notification, reporting, and prevention measures in the employer’s workplace-specific, written Accident Prevention Program or equivalent safety program.
- Allow workers to voluntarily wear masks (respirators, medical procedure masks, or cloth face coverings) and personal protective equipment (PPE) as long as it doesn’t create a safety or security issue.
On May 11, 2021, Governor Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 5115 into law, effective immediately. This new law, known as the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), applies to workplaces only during a declared public health emergency involving an infectious or contagious disease. HELSA protects high-risk employees from any adverse action such as termination and discrimination for requesting accommodations to reduce exposure to the disease. If reasonable accommodations aren’t feasible, employees are entitled to use all available leave options including leave without pay and unemployment insurance (if eligible).
Washington State Department of Health (DOH)
Updated Jan. 26, 2022
The Washington State Department of Health is offering free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits to residents of eligible communities.
Go to: https://sayyescovidhometest.org/ to order your free test kits.
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
People who test positive for COVID-19 or those who have symptoms for COVID-19 and are
waiting test results should go home and isolate. You should isolate regardless of your
vaccination status. Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
Read the full guidance here.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, or think you have been exposed, you can help prevent
the spread of the virus to others in your home and community. Please follow the guidance
on the page linked below.
Read the full guidance here.
What to do if a person is symptomatic
Knowing what to do when COVID-19 symptoms emerge can be confusing given the number of variables that may be involved. The state Department of Health has a new decision tree to help you make the correct choices.
View the full decision tree here.
Ask a Lawyer: What do I do when my employees have COVID?
Employment lawyers Catharine Morisset and Nate Bailey answered your questions about what to do when one (or more) of your employees have COVID including:
- How do I determine who has been exposed by an infected employee?
- If the employee requests to apply for paid sick time, what do I owe the employee?
- Is a negative test required for an employee to return back to work?
Head over to the members-only site and watch a replay to hear answers to questions you may have about responding to COVID cases in your workplace.
National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association continues to collaborate with safety experts from government organizations, academia, the public health sector, and corporations to bring operators the most up-to-date guidelines to support safe dining.
This updated COVID-19 Operating Guidance, our 6th edition, is intended to complement the official guidelines put in place by your state and local authorities.
Before you ask for proof of vaccination, be aware of and prepare for legal and logistical ramifications to enforce the policy.
American Hotel & Lodging Association
This new resource features the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and leading health organizations to help hotels maximize participation in the vaccination process.
From best practice reports, downloadable posters to the latest CDC regulations – get the latest AHLA and government resources.
As the industry looks for guidance on reopening properties, AHLA has collected a variety of leading resources from industry experts. These reopening resources focus on what’s next and includes a checklists for enhanced cleaning practices, the latest contactless technologies, workplace protocols to meet the new health/safety challenges and more.