Nine days ago, as reported here, King County announced a vaccination-verification policy for some businesses/venues was under consideration. Today, it’s official – in less than six weeks, you’ll have to show proof you’re vaccinated – or have tested negative – to dine, drink, work out, or attend entertainment events indoors, and to attend larger events outdoors. From the announcement just made public:
To protect customers and workers, preserve hospital capacity and help prevent business closures, King County will require verification of full vaccination status or a negative test to enter outdoor public events of 500 or more people and indoor entertainment and recreational establishments and events such as live music, performing arts, gyms, restaurants, and bars. The requirements will go into effect on October 25 for outdoor venues and the majority of indoor establishments; December 6 for restaurants with seating capacity for 12 and under.
With continued high levels of preventable COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and increased deaths driven by the Delta variant, serious stress on our regional healthcare system, and concern for a significant outbreak resurgence this fall and winter, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, and community, health care, small business, and arts and culture partners joined in support of requiring verification of full vaccination or a negative test to enter certain indoor and outdoor activities and establishments.
A Health Order issued today by Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin, going into effect on October 25, will protect customers and workers through providing safer spaces, protecting our health care system, and helping prevent business closures. It will apply to:
• Outdoor events with 500 people or more – such as professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events
• Indoor entertainment and recreational events or establishments – such as professional and collegiate sports, entertainment, performing arts, museums, theatre, live music, gyms, and conferences/conventions.
• Restaurants and bars (including indoor dining) – this does NOT apply to outdoor dining, take-out customers, and places that aren’t primarily used as a restaurant, such as grocery stores.
The order gives the option for a longer preparation period for smaller restaurants and bars with a seating capacity of 12 or less, with an implementation date of December 6. The entire order is not expected to be permanent. It will be reviewed no later than six months after the October 25th implementation date to assess its continued need based on future outbreak conditions.
An analysis by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) conducted for King County found that the vaccine verification policy at restaurants, bars and gyms/fitness centers alone could have a significant positive impact, preventing between 17,900 and 75,900 infections, 421 and 1,760 hospitalizations and 63 and 257 deaths locally over six months with the order in place. …
Several forms of vaccination proof will be permitted under the order, including:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card or photo of card.
• printed certificate or QR code (available in late September) from MyIRMobile.com. (MyIR Mobile is currently limited to English language only. For language assistance, or additional help getting your records, call the Washington State Vaccine Helpline at 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357) or email email@example.com)
• other official immunization record from within or outside the United States, including from your health care provider. A photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.
The order defines full vaccination as two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after completing another approved vaccine. No personal identification with proof of vaccination will be required.
For people who are unvaccinated or cannot prove vaccine status, they will be required to show proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, or a negative rapid test result from a testing provider conducted on site at an event or establishment just prior to entry. Individuals under 12 years of age, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, are not required to be tested for entry.
Establishments will be responsible for checking vaccination proof or negative test status. Public Health, King County and City of Seattle will be working with partners to provide technical support and educational materials to businesses and organizations implementing the order. King County, the City of Seattle and Public Health developed the vaccine verification policy in consultation with Public Health’s Pandemic and Racism Community Advisory Group, cities, small businesses, chambers of commerce, labor unions, trade associations, sports teams, entertainment venues, community groups, faith-based leaders throughout the county to create a policy that aims to be workable, fair, and equitable for businesses and residents. …
Currently, 68% of the total King County population and 79% of eligible King County residents (those 12 years of age and up) have completed their vaccination series against COVID-19, including more than 70% of every eligible age group and all racial groups tracked by Public Health. There are nearly 300,000 King County residents who are eligible but have not yet started their vaccination series.
Anyone needing COVID-19 vaccine can visit KingCounty.gov/vaccine to find a vaccine in their neighborhood. To date, more than three million vaccine doses have been administered in King County.
The announcement does not mention what if any penalties establishments/venue face if they don’t comply. A website with more about the new policy has just gone live here.
ADDED: Here’s the official order – see page 4 for exemptions (such as school sporting events).