Vaccination status mandate comment expected today

Initial reports from restaurants to county public health departments saw the first weekend of the vaccinated-only mandate for indoor dining and bars went better than officials expected, the North Olympic Peninsula health officer said.

“So far what I’ve heard from restaurant owners is the rollout went better than social media might’ve left you to expect,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties. “Most patrons were happy to follow the mandate, and many folks who were unvaccinated were happy to eat at some of the outdoor seating or order some takeout.

“So, I would say the vast majority of folks have done really quite well with the new rules. Certainly, there are some vocal opponents out there, but I see in most cases it’s going just fine.”

The public health departments will continue to work bars and restaurants during the next week, focusing on supporting and educating as the staff continue to adapt to the recent order, Berry said.

Data regarding COVID-19 cases and updated case rates from over the weekend were unavailable on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday.

Berry will meet virtually with the Clallam County Commissioners at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as the board takes public comment, limited to three minutes per speaker.

The main entrance at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those who want to attend should enter through the Board of Commissioners board room doors on the south side of the building. Masking and capacity requirements will be enforced. Audio speakers will be placed outside so everyone can listen to the meeting.

Clallam County Superior and District courts will continue operations as usual. Those who want to attend should enter through the east entrance at the courthouse, known as the sheriff’s entrance.

Berry said she expects to hear from many members of the public who are opposed to the mandate that requires all indoor restaurant and bar patrons in both counties to show proof of vaccination.

She also said her role as the health officer is not an elected position but rather as an expert in public health who makes evidence-based policy decisions from the available science.

Her mandates do not require a vote by government officials.

“I think a lot of folks didn’t know that my position existed until the pandemic happened, and so I think people aren’t quite sure what to do with it,” Berry said. “The health officer is intentionally an apolitical position. We are in this position to be scientific experts and make evidence-based health decisions during these health emergencies.

The main entrance at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those who want to attend should enter through the Board of Commissioners board room doors on the south side of the building. Masking and capacity requirements will be enforced. Audio speakers will be placed outside so everyone can listen to the meeting.

Clallam County Superior and District courts will continue operations as usual. Those who want to attend should enter through the east entrance at the courthouse, known as the sheriff’s entrance.

Berry said she expects to hear from many members of the public who are opposed to the mandate that requires all indoor restaurant and bar patrons in both counties to show proof of vaccination.

She also said her role as the health officer is not an elected position but rather as an expert in public health who makes evidence-based policy decisions from the available science.

Her mandates do not require a vote by government officials.

“I think a lot of folks didn’t know that my position existed until the pandemic happened, and so I think people aren’t quite sure what to do with it,” Berry said. “The health officer is intentionally an apolitical position. We are in this position to be scientific experts and make evidence-based health decisions during these health emergencies.

“The system is working; it’s just stressful for students, staff and parents due to them already having cases, and I think that speaks to just how much COVID is in our community and how important these precautions are to prevent transmissions in schools,” Berry said.

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