Those entering restaurants or bars in Jefferson and Clallam counties must provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning Saturday, the North Olympic Peninsula health officer has ordered.
“Indoor bars and restaurants are known to pose a high risk for COVID-19 transmission, as they encourage unmasking of large groups of people indoors,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties, in a press release Thursday.
“Our goal is to make these safer places to be and to reduce transmission in our communities, allowing our hospitals to keep functioning and our schools to open more safely.”
Acceptable forms of proof of vaccination include a completed CDC vaccination card, a state Department of Health Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination, a printed copy of a state Department of Health vaccine record, a photograph of any of those documents, or an app-based vaccine passport, the release said.
A person is fully vaccinated after having received all the required doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 and 14 days have passed since the final dose, according to the order.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses taken four and three weeks apart, respectively. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires one dose.
Employees of bars and restaurants who mask continuously while in the building do not need to provide proof of vaccination. Additionally, children younger than 12, who are ineligible for vaccination, may enter without showing proof, the order said.
As of last month, 495 outbreaks of COVID-19 have been traced to restaurants and bars in Washington state, including several in Jefferson and Clallam counties, stated a situation report by the state Department of Health.
“Given the ability of the delta variant to spread beyond 6 feet when people are unmasked indoors, we believe that a vaccine requirement will be more effective and less costly than the capacity limitations we saw last year,” Berry said. “We want to keep businesses open while protecting the public.
“This is how we do it.”
Officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Vaccination remains the most powerful tool we have to reduce illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” the release said.
In Washington state, 94 percent of those who have been hospitalized and 92 percent of those who have died due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated, according to state data.
Since the beginning of February, 18.1 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County have been among fully vaccinated residents, meaning 81.9 percent of cases have been among unvaccinated residents, according to county data.
Since the beginning of February in Clallam County, 11.2 percent of new COVID-19 cases have been among fully vaccinated residents, meaning 88.8 percent of cases have been among unvaccinated residents, according to county data.
“With hospitals around our region stretched to the breaking point, we need to do everything we can to keep our communities safe,” Berry said.
“Getting vaccinated with this incredible vaccine, which is safe, effective, free and life-saving, is simply the right thing to do.”