Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced a statewide requirement that attendees at major events show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 or proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours before the event.
The new mandate comes into effect on November 15. It applies to participants 12 years of age and over at indoor events with 1,000 or more participants and outdoor events with 10,000 or more participants.
For now, the Inslee office said, the mandate only applies to ârecorded or recordedâ events like concerts and sporting events. It does not apply to religious services or school events.
Some counties in Washington have already imposed even broader mandates.
In King County, for example, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will soon be required to enter bars, restaurants and other venues, as well as to attend outdoor events with 500 or more people. This ordinance takes effect on October 25.
Previously, professional sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Sounders and Kraken required fans attending their games to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test.
In September, as COVID cases skyrocketed, the Jefferson and Clallam counties health worker on the Olympic Peninsula enacted an even stricter mandate, requiring proof of vaccination to enter indoor bars and restaurants , without the possibility of showing a negative test result.
“We want to keep businesses open while protecting the public. This is how we do it,” Health chief Dr. Allison Berry said in a statement at the time.
The order sparked strong protests and prompted a complaint to the State Health Council.
Inslee’s announcement comes days ahead of its Oct. 18 deadline for government employees, health and long-term care workers, and those working in educational institutions to prove they are are vaccinated or lose their jobs.
The order concerns more than 800,000 employees in the public and private sectors. So far, more than 90 percent of the estimated 60,000 state employees subject to the warrant have verified that they are vaccinated.
Around 5,000 workers have benefited from religious or medical exemptions, but so far only around 31% of those who do benefit from their accommodation agencies which will allow them to continue working.