King County vaccine requirement for indoor businesses takes effect Oct. 25

Oct 18, 2021, 11:55 AM | Updated: Oct 24, 2021, 7:52 am
Dow Constantine, King County vaccine requirement...
King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. (Executive Constantine, Twitter)
(Executive Constantine, Twitter)

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees working for the state, King County, and the City of Seattle took effect Oct. 18. Next up is a vaccine requirement for select indoor businesses, set to begin in King County on Monday, Oct. 25.

Everything you need to know about King County’s new vaccine requirements

The vaccine requirement means that eligible businesses must require patrons to provide either proof of vaccination against COVID or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours.

That will encompass indoor dining at restaurants, as well as bars, nightclubs, music venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, gyms/fitness centers, conventions, outdoor events with more than 500 people, and professional and collegiate sports.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine visited with a local cafe last week to discuss the requirement, describing a process they say was focused on collaborating with local businesses.

“We really followed their lead,” Durkan described. “We heard very early on from business owners that their employees and customers wanted to feel safe.”

King County businesses begin preparations for new vaccine requirements

In terms of enforcing the new rules, Constantine stressed an emphasis on “education and providing resources.” That said, “if there are businesses or customers who are flagrantly or purposefully not complying,” Public Health — Seattle & King County does have the authority to issue fines, or even pull business licenses.

“But we do not believe that will be necessary,” he added. “We believe this is about meeting the needs of a public that wants to be vaccinated.”

As of Oct. 19, at least 92% of state employees had shown proof that they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or were approved for exemption, according to the state’s Office of Financial Management. King County reported that 97% of employees have submitted paper in compliance with the mandate, while 92% are fully vaccinated.

Governor Inslee announced Oct. 14 that there will be a vaccine verification requirement for large events in Washington starting Nov. 15. The statewide order will require large indoor events of 1,000 people or more and outdoor events with 10,000 or more to verify that a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or has obtained a negative test within 72 hours.

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King County vaccine requirement for indoor businesses takes effect Oct. 25