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Section 1: General information

People age 12 and older will be required to show proof of vaccine or negative COVID test to enter certain large sporting/entertainment events and gyms, and to take part in indoor dining at establishments such as restaurants and bars. This health order does not require people to also show proof of ID.

COVID-19 is currently spreading at high rates in King County, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Our healthcare system is more strained than at any time during the pandemic, and we are trying to preserve the ability of our hospitals to serve everyone who needs care.

Requiring people to verify their vaccination status in places where there is higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 will help contain the spread since vaccinated people are at much lower risk of catching and spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 is more likely to spread in crowded outdoor spaces and indoor settings where people are unmasked or participating in high-risk activities like yelling, singing, or aerobic activity.

This policy aims to prevent cases and hospitalizations from rising any further and therefore prevent further state restrictions, such as business capacity limits or a return to remote schooling.

For data from the UW on the potential for this policy to prevent cases, hospitalizations, and death: https://www.healthdata.org/node/9029

  1. Education and outreach: If we receive a complaint of a business being out of compliance with the policy, we will reach out to the business to notify them of the complaint, share educational resources, and inform them of the enforcement process.
  2. In-person inspection: If we determine the business is choosing to be out of compliance, or if we receive three or more complaints about the business, we will send an inspector to the business to discuss the violations and investigate whether the complaints are accurate.
  3. Notice of violation: If the inspector determines that the business continues to choose to be in non-compliance, Public Health will issue a “notice of violation,” which serves as a warning of fines that could be issued if the business does not work to come into full compliance.
  4. Second inspection and fines: If, after a second in-person inspection, we determine that the business continues to choose to be non-compliant, we will begin issuing escalating fines, starting at $250.
  5. Business closure: If, after fines and multiple inspections, a business still chooses not to implement vaccination verification, we may explore temporarily closing the business.

If you feel an establishment is not complying with the vaccine verification policy, you can share this information with us via our online complaint form.

This Local Health Officer Order is effective starting October 25, 2021. Small restaurants and bars, defined as those with seating capacity for less than 12 people, have until December 6, 2021 to implement the requirements.

The entire order is not expected to be permanent. No later than six months from October 25, 2021, this policy will be reviewed for possible extension based on future outbreak conditions.

No. Everyone age 12 and older is required to follow the policy.

No, the mask mandate will still be in effect. Verification requirement is an additional layer of protection on top of masks, distancing, and ventilation.

Section 2: About proof of vaccination

  • A CDC vaccine card or photo of vaccine card.
  • Documented proof of vaccination from medical record or vaccine provider.
  • Proof of vaccination from another state or county.
  • Printed certificate or digital record from MyIRMobile.com or other apps.

NOTE: Documentation of medical or religious exemptions not accepted.

The following vaccines are accepted for verification and have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO): Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm-BBIBP, Sinovac, and Novavax. All other COVID-19 vaccines are not accepted.

If you lost your CDC vaccination card, try these options to find your vaccination record:

  • Sign up for MyIR at wa.MyIR.net. Look up your vaccination record, then print or take a screenshot. If your records don't show up, call 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357).
  • Ask your provider. If you received your vaccine at your health care provider, the provider's office should be able to give you a copy of your record.
  • Ask at the vaccination site. Go back to the site where you were vaccinated and ask a clinic supervisor if they can look up your record and create a new card.

For questions about your immunization record, email: waiisrecords@doh.wa.gov.

No, the requirements do not apply to children under 12 years old. Children ages 5-11 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on November 3, 2021. It will take some time before children in this age group are able to get fully vaccinated. The vaccination verification requirement continues to apply only to people ages 12 and older in King County.

Any type of COVID-19 test administered by a testing provider can be used. Testing providers are required to use FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 tests. The negative result must be within the past 72 hours.

Rapid tests used without the supervision of a testing provider will NOT be accepted.

(Some examples of types of FDA-approved or authorized include: PCR, TMA, NAAT, molecular, antigen, and lateral flow. This is not an exhaustive list.)

No, religious or medical exemptions are not allowed. Rather, a negative test can be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination.

Showing a fake vaccination card is a Federal crime. We expect that the vast majority of people will follow the requirements.

In our stakeholder engagement, we received feedback that ID checks are associated with trauma stemming from racist and discriminatory practices, plus can lead to distrust for many communities. The vast majority of people have followed health requirements in our region during the pandemic.

Washington State Department of Health recommends MyIR Mobile. Businesses and individuals can also choose to use additional vaccine card apps such as CLEAR and COVID Proof to provide vaccination verification. Please be advised that any third-party mobile application may collect personal information and data. Public Health – Seattle & King County will continue to seek guidance from the Washington State Department of Health on the use of digital vaccine card apps for verification.

Yes. 12-year-old children may participate if an adult can state that the child is in the process of getting vaccinated. 12-year-olds are required to be vaccinated, but we recognize that it takes additional weeks after they turn 12 to complete all shots and be fully vaccinated.

The customer/patron must provide vaccine verification or a negative COVID-19 test at each visit. One exception is gyms or similar venues that choose to keep a record of vaccination status for their members on file. If a gym client chooses to use a negative COVID-19 test instead of proof of vaccination to enter, they must show a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours.

Yes. Please keep in mind that some people with disabilities may not have access to their vaccine information or the ability to use vaccine verification apps. If a person declares or is perceived to have a disability and cannot provide proof of vaccine, verbal communication of their vaccination status should be accepted instead of physical proof of vaccination.

For people with disabilities who are unvaccinated, a verbal declaration that they have received a negative COVID test within the past 72 hour should be accepted.

Section 3: Where proof of vaccination is required

If a wedding or party is held at a business that is otherwise subject to this rule, such as a restaurant or music venue, vaccine verification will be required.

Weddings or events held in settings that are not otherwise subject to this policy – such as private homes, or faith-based institutions – are strongly encouraged but not required to verify vaccinations.

Faith-based settings and large funerals are strongly encouraged but not required to verify vaccinations.

Workers are covered under Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries regulations related to Covid safety. The King County policy strongly recommends, but does not require, a vaccine mandate for all workers or volunteers at establishments covered under the policy. Employers can mandate vaccinations.

In addition, the Federal government has announced they are issuing a mandate that in part includes employers with more than 100 employees must either put in place an employee vaccination mandate or conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of employees.

Guidance and resources are available from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries, Washington State Coronavirus Response, and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and available here:

It depends. Verification is not required for normal hotel business activities such as checking in guests or people entering the hotel for short periods of time.

Verification is required at:

  • Public restaurants located within a hotel.
    Exemption: Spaces used for indoor dining or drinking that are only for hotel guests (such as a breakfast bar).
  • Public events that include people who are not guests of the hotel. Examples: performances, weddings, or conferences.
    Exemption: A business meeting of a single employer or a group of employees who already adhere to their own vaccine mandate or protocol.
  • Hotel gyms or fitness centers that are open to the public.
    Exemption: On-site gyms or fitness centers that are only open to hotel guests.

Select a location type below for more details (this is not an exhaustive list)

Not required. Vaccine verification is not required in places of residence, including gym and fitness rooms inside apartment complexes and residential communities.

  Strongly recommended but not required for dining rooms at these facilities

Not required for entry for a quick and limited purpose. However, you are required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test to participate in indoor recreational or entertainment activities within community or senior centers, such as a fitness class, an event, or a performance.

  Strongly recommended, but not required

Note: School employees are required by a separate state order.

  Strongly recommended, but not required

  Strongly recommended, but not required

  Strongly recommended, but not required

  Strongly recommended, but not required

The vaccine verification policy does not apply to any pre-school through grade 12 school-based event of any kind, for either participants or spectators. A school-based event is an event or activity for pre-K to grade 12 students sponsored/organized by the school for their students. It may be at the school campus or held at a different location other than a school building, such as a community center.

Vaccine verification is strongly recommended for school-based events that occur off campus in venues where students mix with other members of the public, such as on a field trip. At an event or establishment otherwise covered by the vaccine verification policy, such as a museum, the school may attest that all of the students are fully vaccinated or have documentation of negative test within the past 72 hours.

  Required for any customers eating or drinking in a dedicated seating or bar space