The latest guidance from the CDC has loosened mask recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. We are excited by this update and encouraged that vaccination rates are climbing and infection rates are going down, but we are still requiring all visitors to NCW Libraries locations to wear a mask, including those fully vaccinated. Here’s why:
- Fully Vaccinated rates throughout our service area average 32%. In some counties the rate of fully vaccinated individuals are in the low 20%.
- The guidance from the governor and the CDC does not apply to health care settings, homeless shelters, or schools, and the federal order requiring masks on public transportation remains in place. The service population of libraries is more akin to hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, and public transportation than it is to retail shops and restaurants.
- We want our libraries to be free, open, and accessible to everyone and to do that all patrons can protect our most vulnerable populations by continuing to wear masks and limit their time inside our library buildings.
- L&I guidance has not been updated by the state yet. In the absence of clear guidelines regarding our requirements as an employer, lifting the mask requirement for patrons would be premature.
- WA DOH has not provided updated industry guidance specific to libraries. We have used this guidance throughout the pandemic to inform our decisions and policies.
Continuing to mask up ensures that our libraries can be a safe, welcoming, and accessible place for every community member.
We can’t wait to see you and serve your needs! We thank you in advance for doing your part to help us keep our communities safe.