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Director of Health Dr. Anthony Chen issues outdoor mask order for Pierce County.

Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, Director of Health for Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, issued a countywide health order Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Everyone 5 years and older in Pierce County must wear a face covering at any outdoor event with 500 or more people in attendance regardless of vaccination status beginning Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

We also recommend you wear mask in any crowded outdoor setting where physical distancing is not possible. This order, along with the statewide mask order, requires masks be worn in indoor public settings like grocery stores, malls and community centers.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at an all-time high in Pierce County. Local healthcare systems are at a critical stage. Face coverings limit the transmission of droplets that could spread COVID-19 and are an invaluable tool to prevent outbreaks. While outdoors is much safer than indoors, the virus can still easily spread in large groups where physical distancing is difficult.

“We are taking this step to ensure the most vulnerable people in our community do not become infected or spread COVID-19,” Dr. Chen said. “The highly contagious Delta variant is causing a rapid increase of positive COVID-19 cases and leading to increased hospitalizations and deaths.

“Wearing masks in crowds of 500 or more will reduce community transmission and protect children under the age of 12, people who are immunocompromised and unvaccinated adults.”

Vaccinations remain our best defense against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and readily available for everyone 12 and older. Find your dose today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.

Testing also remains an important tool to protect your health and slow the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms or might have been exposed, you should get tested whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. Find local testing sites at tpchd.org/gettested.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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