September 23, 2021

What Washington outdoor mask mandate means for school sports

Washington state is now requiring people to wear a mask at outdoor events with 500…

Washington state is now requiring people to wear a mask at outdoor events with 500 or more attendees. Here’s who is counted for school sporting events.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The expanded state mask mandate is now in effect in Washington state and requires people to wear a mask in outdoor events with 500 or more attendees regardless of vaccination status.

Outdoor gathering events include places and events where 500 or more people are gathering together, including stadiums, professional and higher education schools, racetracks, rodeos, fairs, concerts and venues. That means the mandate also applies for outdoor gathering school events. 

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), which oversees athletics and regulates equitable playing conditions between high school sports teams in Washington, said on its website that it’s important for schools with extracurricular activities to know how those 500 people allowed in outdoor events should be counted. 

“To calculate the 500 people, schools should include fans, event staff, bands and anyone else who may occupy seating areas,” WIAA  website states. 

However, the WIAA  website statement says, “Coaches, players, officials and other personnel on the field, along with cheer, dance, drill squads on the sidelines are not counted.”

The WIAA encourages people to follow mask mandate regulations guidelines to keep large outdoor events happening.

According to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), a violation of the mask mandate may result in a misdemeanor subjecting the violator to a fine of up to $100 or up to 90 days in county jail. However, it is unclear if this fine applies to indoor or outdoor mask requirements.

The WIAA encourages people to follow the face mask mandate and wear a face covering when attending large events to allow events to happen. 

“We have all done a lot of work over the last 18 months to get sports and activities back up and running and we need to do everything in our power to make sure these participation opportunities continue to be available for our students,” the WIAA said in a statement.

The WIAA also suggest school and athletic facilities to update their policies and mandates on their websites as a source for fans who may attend their events facilities.

To check whether or not the outdoor mask mandate for events with 500 people and over applies at your attending event, check the event’s website before attending to avoid any inconvenience.