Don’t leave home without it.
Starting Oct. 25, proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 will be required to enter any restaurant, bar, gym, theater or entertainment venue in King County.
Citing a high number of hospitalizations and deaths because of the contagious delta variant, County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Thursday announced new requirements to enter certain indoor and outdoor establishments.
The requirement is similar to policies in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans, as well as Washington’s Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Who does this affect?
Visitors to any large outdoor gathering with more than 500 people, indoor entertainment or recreational spaces and indoor restaurants or bars must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past 72 hours.
Children under age 12, who aren’t yet eligible for a vaccine, are exempt.
Indoor recreational spaces include college sports games, concerts, movie theaters, museums, gyms, conferences and conventions.
Washington State and King County public health officials have already required masking at large outdoor gatherings and any indoor space and recommended masking in crowded outdoor settings.
Can I eat at a restaurant without showing proof of vaccination?
If it’s outside, yes. You also don’t have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to pick up food to go or at a grocery store or another place that isn’t primarily used as a restaurant.
When does this go into effect? When will it end?
For most establishments, this order will go into effect on Oct. 25. For smaller restaurants and bars with seating capacity of 12 or less, the order will go into effect on Dec. 6.
Public health officials say they plan to review the policy in six months, around April 25, 2022.
Is this expected to prevent infections or hospitalizations?
Among King County residents ages 12 and up, 85% have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the public health department, leaving around 300,000 unvaccinated King County residents. Yet infection and hospitalization rates remain at dangerous levels, officials have noted.
According to an analysis by the University of Washington, a vaccine-verification policy at just restaurants, bars and gyms could prevent in the next six months between 17,900 to 75,900 infections and between 421 to 1,760 hospitalizations.
How can I show proof of vaccination or a negative test?
People who are not fully vaccinated or cannot prove their vaccination status will have to show a negative PCR COVID-19 test from the past 72 hours or a negative rapid test from an on-site testing provider just before entry.
In Washington state, the following are considered acceptable types of verification:
- A CDC COVID-19 vaccination card, or a photo of one.
- A printout from the Washington State Immunization Information System.
- A screenshot or Certificate of Immunization Status from MyIR or MyIR Mobile
- A verified electronic medical record printout from your medical provider.
According to the order, visitors are not required to show personal identification with their proof of vaccination.
When do I need to start vaccination?
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you’re getting a Pfizer vaccine, you need to wait at least three weeks after your first shot to receive a second dose. You need to wait at least four weeks after receiving the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
To be fully vaccinated by Oct. 25, that means the last day you can start your inoculation is:
- Sept. 20: Pfizer
- Oct 11: Johnson & Johnson
If you get a first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Sept. 16, the earliest day you can be fully vaccinated is Oct. 28.