King County officially ends COVID vaccine requirements for businesses

Mar 1, 2022, 10:02 AM

King County vaccine requirements...

King County's vaccine requirement takes effect on Oct. 25. (Dow Constantine, Twitter)

(Dow Constantine, Twitter)

As of March 1, King County’s COVID vaccine requirements for most businesses has officially ended.

State moves end date for indoor mask mandate up to March 12

County leaders announced the March 1 end date in mid-February, citing a steady decrease in COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations. The vaccine verification policy had been in effect since October of 2021 as a response to the delta variant, mandating that restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, and large outdoor events require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, or proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours.

Moving forward, those requirements will no longer be in place, although individual businesses will still have the option to maintain their own vaccine verification policies, if they so choose.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, our aim has been to ensure all policies protect the health of our community and save lives,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a press release. “Our health experts believe now is the appropriate time to lift vaccine verification requirements so I will continue to follow their lead.”

As of Monday, Feb. 28, King County is averaging 311 daily COVID cases and 11 hospitalizations. That’s roughly on par with what the county was experiencing around the time its vaccine verification policy went into effect, although numbers have continued to trend downward.

Washington’s COVID emergency order will not end yet, says Gov. Inslee

That said, health leaders are urging residents to continue to exercise caution.

“Although our mandatory vaccine verification requirement is ending, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain elevated and layered COVID-19 prevention remains important,” King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin noted. “Everyone should continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 risk, including getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible, using high quality, well-fitting face masks, improving indoor air quality through ventilation and filtration, and limiting time in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.”

The county’s indoor mask mandate remains in effect for  now, but will come to an end on March 12, in line with when the statewide masking requirements will expire.

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King County officially ends COVID vaccine requirements for businesses