Proof of vaccination to be required for restaurants, gyms, and theaters in King County

Starting later next month, King County residents will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter large outdoor public events and indoor entertainment and recreation establishments including live music venues, performing arts centers, gyms, restaurants, and bars.

King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin, Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the upcoming requirement yesterday, which goes partially into effect October 25.

The Health Order was issued in response to “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,” according to a statement from King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office.

The vaccination mandate applies to the following:

  • 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.

Smaller restaurants and bars with a seating capacity of 12 or less will have more time to begin the mandate, with a December 6 implementation date. According to King County, the order is not expected to be permanent: The order will be reviewed six months after the Oct. 25 implementation date to assess whether it’s still necessary.

“We are at a critical point in this pandemic, with high levels of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and no certainty as to what will follow the Delta variant,” Executive Constantine said in a statement. “Vaccination is our best shield against this deadly virus. With over 85 percent of King County residents having received at least their first vaccine dose, vaccine verification will help keep people safe and keep businesses open.”

The public health order will allow several forms of vaccination proof, including the following:

  • 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 waissrecords@doh.wa.gov).
  • 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.

Full vaccination is considered two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

People who are unvaccinated or who can’t prove vaccine status 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 place of business before entry. Those who are ineligible for vaccination or kids under 12 will not be required to be tested for entry.

Each establishment is required to conduct their own vaccination or negative test status checking. King County says they will be working with local partners to help provide technical support and education materials to businesses and organizations to assist with implementing the order.

King County joins several other places around the country who have implemented some form of vaccine verification including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles County, the State of California, British Columbia in Canada, and Clallam and Jefferson counties in Washington state.

For more information on King County’s COVID-19 vaccine verification policy, visit KingCounty’s website.

Photo: King County

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