Starting today, October 25, 2021, customers ages 12 and older are required to verify full vaccination or a negative test to participate in 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.
Preventable COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain at high levels in King County. This new Public Health—Seattle & King County (Public Health) policy, announced on September 16, 2021, creates an additional layer of protection from COVID-19.
People who are unvaccinated or cannot prove vaccine status will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider within the last 72 hours on-site at an event or establishment just prior to entry. Rapid tests used without the supervision of a testing provider will not be accepted.
The Order is intended to make public spaces safer for everyone. It aims to slow the virus’s spread in our community, and to preserve local hospital capacity. It broadens and reinforces the vaccine verification policies that many restaurants, professional sports teams, universities, and businesses already have in place.
We know that the vaccines dramatically reduce a person’s risk of needing to be hospitalized from COVID-19. Vaccines dramatically reduce the chances of dying. Vaccines are free and widely available to anyone age 12 and up.
Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is the surest way to control the pandemic. With proof of vaccination, along with other layers of protection such as masks, residents can feel safer enjoying concerts, sporting events, and social gatherings in public.
Where is vaccine verification required?
Starting today, people are required to show proof of vaccination in a number of public places, such as:
- Outdoor events with 500 or more people
- Indoor recreational activities of any size, such as performances, movie theaters, conferences, or gyms
- Indoors at bars and restaurants (outdoor dining, grocery stores, and take-out are exempt)
The entire order is not expected to be permanent. It will last for six months starting October 25. It will be reviewed for possible extension based on future outbreak conditions.
Public Health strongly encourages faith-based organizations to voluntarily adopt a vaccine verification policy, but it is not mandatory at this time. The policy also does not apply to children age 11 or younger, who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine.
People can verify that they’ve been vaccinated in a number of ways. They can show:
- A CDC vaccine card or photo of vaccine card
- Documented proof of vaccination from medical record or vaccine provider
- Proof of vaccination from another state or country
A person is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or their first dose of Johnson & Johnson. You do not have to show identification, such as a driver’s license, when showing proof of vaccination.
Employers, their employees, and volunteers, must implement this Order equitably and may not discriminate based on an individual’s race, national origin, religion, or age. Businesses and venues should provide reasonable accommodation for those who are unable to provide proof of vaccination due to a disability.
Several other local governments have already adopted some form of vaccine verification policy, including New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Honolulu, the State of California, British Columbia in Canada, and Clallam and Jefferson counties in Washington state.
Several local sports teams and venues, including the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Kraken, Seattle Storm, University of Washington Huskies, and all events at Climate Pledge Arena adopted vaccination verification policies.
As far as our local vaccination numbers go as of October 25th.
- 77.4% of residents 12+ in zip code 98045 (North Bend) are fully vaccinated, up from 74% September 16th
- 71.8% of residents 12+ in zip code 98024 (Fall City) are fully vaccinated, up from 69.2% September 16th
- 86.7% of residents 12+ in zip code 98065 (Snoqualmie) are fully vaccinated, up from 83% September 16th
- 75.20% of residents 12+ in zip code 98014 (Carnation) are fully vaccinated, up from 72% September 16th
- 86.5% of residents 12+ in zip code 98019 (Duvall) are fully vaccinated, up from 83.2 September 16th
[See the full post on the Public Health Insider here]