With the October 18th state, county, and city worker vaccination deadline here and seemingly in hand in Seattle, attention now turns to another important October COVID-19 recovery milestone.
Starting October 25th, a new vaccination verification system will be in place in King County requiring proof to be shown for entry to indoor areas of restaurants and bars, live music events, performing arts, and gyms, as well as large outdoor events like professional sports with 500 or more people in attendance.
Smaller restaurants and bars with a seating capacity no greater than a dozen people will have until December 6th to implement the requirements.
Capitol Hill restaurants, bars, and shops again on the frontlines of dealing with new pandemic-era requirements are getting support and resources, officials said Monday.
“This new policy will keep people safe and keep businesses open, protecting our community’s health and economy as we continue to navigate this pandemic,” Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement Monday. “As King County businesses and residents prepare for the vaccine verification health order to go into effect, we are here to help with resources, customer service support, and technical assistance.”
The county says it is working with community partners, businesses, and cities to “ensure a smooth launch next week.” Public Health – Seattle & King County partnered with the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce to launch KC Vax Verified, a website with resources to help businesses prepare and implement the health order. The site includes training materials, signage, and “scenario planning” documents in multiple languages.
The new requirements will launch a week from now with a Monday start to new rules hoped to help continue the economic recovery even as transmission rates remain at dangerous levels in the county.
With thousands still unvaccinated, masks remain an essential element of daily life and are required for businesses, buildings, public transit, schools, and large outdoor events and gatherings.
In King County, the transmission rate remains in the “high” category with around 400 new cases a day — down around 30% from August’s recent peak. Currently, around 15 new hospitalizations are recorded every day with around two to three COVID-19 related deaths.
The City of Seattle is preparing to ramp back up its public vaccination efforts with a new downtown Vaccination Hub, boosters, and plans for kids to finally begin the vaccination process.
Under the King County system launching on the 25th, a variety of documentation will be accepted:
Verification of vaccination may be established by any of the following methods of documentation:
• CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Record Card, or photo of CDC Vaccine Record Card
• QR Code, digital or printed certificate from MyIRMobile — https://myirmobile.com — a WA Department of Health partner website for immunization records
• Vaccine administration record from a vaccine provider, including an individual’s doctor, pharmacy, or other official immunization record from within or outside the U.S., including a photo or photocopy
• Any other digital vaccine card specified by Public Health – Seattle & King County as sufficient to demonstrate proof of vaccination status.
Additional identification, such as a driver’s license or ID, is not required
More venues may shift to require verification of vaccination status using systems like the MyIRMobile app or other services like the CLEAR health pass that will be required to attend Kraken NHL games at Climate Pledge Arena.
Full vaccination is defined 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. People who are unvaccinated or cannot 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 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 under the policy.
Some venues will also choose to put or maintain stronger restrictions in place. 12th Ave’s Canon is one example. It hasn’t been allowing customers in who aren’t vaccinated — even with a negative test. The new policy won’t change that. “We have not been allowing entry with a negative test and we aren’t starting now,” the bar’s ownership said last month.
Canon is one of many Capitol Hill venues and businesses already meeting the October 25th requirements. CHS reported here on the wave of bars and restaurants starting with many of Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ venues that led the way with vaccination requirements in July.
Officials say the vaccine requirements will help keep staff and customers safe and help further slow transmission of the virus. University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation analysis conducted for the county found that a vaccine verification policy at restaurants, bars and gyms alone could prevent tens of thousands of infections, and hundreds of hospitalizations and deaths if put in in place for a six-month period.
The current order has no announced end date.
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