San Juan County Mask Order Still in Place, Despite CDC Recommendation

Posted May 16, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Contributed Photo/Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Officials Say Indoor Masking Protects Unvaccinated Children


From San Juan County

The Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol has recent­ly released new guid­ance on wear­ing masks for ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed individuals.

That announce­ment has been fol­lowed by the governor’s deci­sion to more or less match the CDC guidance.

Ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed means two weeks past your final shot.

This guid­ance was released with no advance warn­ing or coor­di­na­tion with local or state gov­ern­ment. It will be a lit­tle while before the details are sorted. 


The CDC guid­ance specif­i­cal­ly men­tions that their approach does not replace any local or state regulations.

The San Juan Coun­ty Health Offi­cer order requir­ing cus­tomers to mask up inside busi­ness­es remains in place.

This applies whether you are vac­ci­nat­ed or not.

The rea­son­ing is sim­ple: many island busi­ness­es rely on teenage employ­ees who are only now able to receive their vaccine.

Pro­tect­ing them is vital, espe­cial­ly as we head into Memo­r­i­al Day week­end. The health offi­cer order will be revis­it­ed in mid-June once our island teenagers have had a chance to be ful­ly vaccinated.

Any unvac­ci­nat­ed chil­dren 12 or old­er should get their shots now. To reg­is­ter for the cur­rent clin­ics for ages 12 and up, vis­it

There is no guar­an­tee that there will be oppor­tu­ni­ties to receive the Pfiz­er vac­cine through local vac­cine providers once the cur­rent­ly sched­uled clin­ics are over.

Our high­est risk group at this point is chil­dren 15 and under – none of whom are ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed at this time.

Those chil­dren and their par­ents need to be extra cau­tious about expo­sure to high-risk sit­u­a­tions (indoors, unmasked, espe­cial­ly with unvac­ci­nat­ed indi­vid­u­als). After 12- to 15-year-olds have been vac­ci­nat­ed, extra cau­tion will still be need­ed for chil­dren 11 and under.

If you are still mak­ing the choice to not be vac­ci­nat­ed or to not vac­ci­nate your chil­dren, know that loos­en­ing restric­tions on masks will increase your risk.


The CDC guid­ance around out­door mask­ing is rea­son­able. Ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed indi­vid­u­als may go unmasked when outside.

In addi­tion, no one needs to wear a mask in uncrowd­ed areas when walk­ing down the street, on a dock, or through a park – whether they are vac­ci­nat­ed or not.

Those unvac­ci­nat­ed should keep their masks on when in crowd­ed out­door spaces with extend­ed expo­sure. Farm­ers’ mar­kets, walk­ing off a fer­ry, parades, or at an out­door con­cert are all exam­ples of out­door places where any­one unvac­ci­nat­ed must mask up.

Note that work require­ments may dif­fer, and as always will be deter­mined by Wash­ing­ton Labor & Indus­tries. In addi­tion, any facil­i­ty or prop­er­ty own­er may estab­lish their own rules requir­ing masks in out­door settings.

Schools, Hos­pi­tals, Nurs­ing Homes, Ferries

There are some sit­u­a­tions where state or fed­er­al law will con­tin­ue to require masks. This includes schools, health care facil­i­ties, long-term care facil­i­ties, and pub­lic tran­sit (includ­ing fer­ries and airplanes).

These state require­ments may expand in the days to come.

As is often the case when nation­al and state pol­i­tics impact local pol­i­cy, the job of mak­ing sense of it all falls square­ly on the shoul­ders of cit­i­zens and local gov­ern­ment. Please be patient.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Health & Wellness, Safety

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0