Staring Oct. 25, proof of vaccination will be required to enter many indoor and some outdoor venues in Seattle and King County. Photo by Stephen Brashear/EPA-EFE
Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Officials have announced that proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required starting the end of next month to enter indoor establishments, such as bars, restaurants, and movie theaters, and some outdoor venues in Seattle and King County.
The order issued by Dr. Jeff Duchin, the local health officer for Seattle and King County, states effective Oct. 25, all patrons and customers 12 years of age and older will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test administered within the previous 72 hours to enter restaurants, bars and taverns with seating capacity of 12 or more.
The rule also applies for entertainment and performing arts locations, including night clubs, music and concert venues, movie theaters, museums, professional sports stadiums and arenas, among others.
Outdoor venues and events affected are those with 500 or more people in attendance, such as sporting events, both professional and collegiate, as well as concerts.
The rule will also be applied staring Dec. 6 for indoor restaurants, bars and taverns with seating capacity fewer than 12, the order said.
"Our COVID-19 response must continue to adapt to the difficult, changing reality of this pandemic," Duchin said in a statement. "The Delta virus is much more contagious, airborne, causes severe illness and is seriously stressing our hospitals and healthcare providers. King County's vaccine verification program will prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths, safeguard our healthcare system and provide safer spaces for the public and for workers."
The order says one can present a vaccination record card provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a photo as proof of being fully vaccinated, which means having received the required doses of a Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccine. A printed certificate or QR code from MyIRMobile.com and other official immunization records will also count as proof, it said.
According to the order, 68% of King County residents are fully vaccinated but 720,000 are not, including nearly 300,000 who are eligible for the vaccine and 120,000 who have yet to complete their inoculation regimen.
The order said the roughly 308,000 children 12 years of age and younger who are ineligible for the vaccine will not be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to enter any of the affected establishments.
A study of King County by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has found that such a vaccine policy could prevent between 17,900 and 75,900 infections and up to 257 deaths over a six-month period.
"We are at a critical point in this pandemic, with high levels of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and no certainty as to what will follow the Delta variant," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Vaccination is our best shield against this deadly virus."
The order follows similar mandates issued last month for San Francisco and New York City.