OLYMPIA, Wash. — COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will expand to include anyone 60 and older and people working in congregate settings, including restaurant and food service workers, starting March 31.
Approximately 2 million additional Washingtonians will be eligible with the expansion. The decision to expand vaccine eligibility is due to an increase in doses and the vaccination rate, according to Gov. Jay Inslee's office.
Vaccine appointments will open for:
- Anyone with two or more diseases or medical conditions
- Anyone 60 and older
- Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.)
- Additional workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)
On March 17, five days ahead of schedule, Washington expanded eligibility for more than 700,000 people in Tier 2 of Phase 1B. That group includes critical workers who work in certain congregate settings, such as grocery stores, agriculture, schools and child care, corrections, transit and law enforcement.
Inslee announced Thursday he was extending the statewide eviction moratorium to June 30. The moratorium was set to expire on March 30. The moratorium has been in place since March 2020 and was already extended several times.
Hospitality and restaurant workers have been pushing for the state to open COVID-19 vaccine appointments to them as restrictions on businesses loosen. On March 22, the state plans to allow indoor dining to increase to 50% capacity.
An online petition organized by the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and the Washington Hospitality Association was released an attempt to get the state to include restaurant workers in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.
"Reaching more of our workers who work in congregate settings is very important to our state's effort," Inslee said. "It's very important to reduce the transmission rate of the disease - which helps everyone - and it's very important to maintain equity which is so important in [our vaccine rollout effort.]"