King County announced Wednesday they are lifting the COVID-19 vaccination verification requirements for restaurants, bars, concerts, gyms, and other indoor locations on March 1. The announcement comes after COVID-19 cases, and hospitalization rates decrease across the county.
The verification requirements were also lifted for outdoor activities, such as collegiate and professional sports and concerts. Officials said that over 87% of King County residents over 12 are fully vaccinated.Our public health experts believe that now is the appropriate time to lift vaccine verification based on high rates of vaccine coverage and the decrease in new cases and hospitalizations across the county. King County Executive Dow Constantine said they are moving in the right direction and can continue taking additional steps toward recovery.
The policy first went into effect on Oct. 25, 2021, after being announced in September during a surge in cases from the Delta variant. It required either verification of complete vaccination or a recent negative test to enter indoor entertainment and recreational spaces, indoor restaurants and bars, and outdoor events with 500 people or more.
Businesses and organizations may continue to require verification rules for their locations. Health officials caution that everyone should continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 risk, including wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and limiting time in crowded spaces.