Vaccine proof or negative test required at major WA events
Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday increased vaccine requirements in Washington state.
Starting November 15, operators of large events in Washington will need to verify that attendees 12 years and older are either fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours.
The new requirement will apply to indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees, and to outdoor events when there are more than 10,000 attendees. It covers paid or registered events, such as conventions, concerts, sporting events, fairs, theme parks, etc.
The requirement will not apply to religious services or events held on K-12 school grounds. It will also not apply to large sites such as shopping malls, museums or grocery stores that are open to the public as part of their operations.
Inslee noted that although COVID vaccinations have increased, the state still needs to see more people get vaccinated.
âWe cannot and we will not surrender to this disease. We cannot and we will not think that the status quo is good enough, âhe said on Thursday. âWe need to get this disease under control and bring those numbers down. “
Some counties have already made proof of vaccination mandatory for bar and restaurant patrons, and the state’s new requirement is similar to actions recently taken by the King County health official.
King County, in a health ordinance effective Oct. 25, will require verification of full immunization status or a negative test “to participate in outdoor public events of 500 or more people and entertainment and entertainment establishments and events. indoor recreation such as live music, performance arts, gyms, restaurants and bars.
In early September, Washington sports teams joined in the decision to require similar proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter stadiums and arenas.
A long list of Seattle theater and art venues already have similar requirements, as do Olympia art venues, including the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
In Pierce County, until now, requiring proof of vaccine among patrons has been a decision made by individual restaurants and entertainment venues in the absence of any county-level health orders beyond masking requirements.
As of Thursday morning, the state’s Department of Health’s COVID dashboard showed that 59% of the state’s total population was fully vaccinated.
King County reports 69.3% of its total population fully vaccinated, according to DOH dashboard data, compared to just over 50% in Pierce County.
The state action follows Inslee’s previous vaccine requirements affecting government officials, K-12 school staff and health workers, aimed at increasing the rate of comprehensive state vaccination.
Mandate to vaccinate government officials
A statewide deadline of October 18 is looming for workers affected by state COVID vaccine requirements. This date is the deadline for workers to have either full proof of vaccination or an exemption approved by their employer.
The governor’s office said Thursday morning that Monday’s deadline for verifying state employees was firm and would not be extended.
More than 90% of state officials have received the COVID-19 vaccine, Inslee said Thursday. A separate survey released on Monday estimated that about 88 percent of hospital workers among 94 percent of reporting hospitals were fully immunized.
“There are still 1.6 million Washingtonians … who have not started their vaccinations,” Inslee said Thursday. “We know that our cases, as a percentage of the population, have fortunately declined … but we know they may turn up right away.”
He noted that unlike workers, a testing option had to be available when seeking proof of vaccine from the general public for events, given the logistics of granting exemptions.
He also remained firm on not allowing a testing option for workers who did not want the vaccine and did not meet medical or religious exemptions, although the upcoming federal rule may allow it, he said. he adds.
“I have made it clear in our state’s position that we have not found the tests to be adequate protection against this disease,” he said. âWe tried this option with our correctional service to allow employees to skip the shot and just get tested. Unfortunately, this resulted in a very, very considerable transmission in our facilities, some of it coming from our DLC employees. “
“I want people to know that we will be reviewing this (federal) rule, but we will actively consider not having a testing option in Washington state when this rule is released.”
This story was originally published October 14, 2021 2:39 pm.