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King County's COVID-19 vaccine verification requirement begins next week

Gyms, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in King County will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

SEATTLE — Starting next week, people who live in or visit King County will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

The county issued the order in September saying it was necessary to lessen the load on area hospitals.

The order, which goes into effect on October 25, requires establishments to check for vaccine verification or show proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, or a negative rapid test result from a testing provider conducted on-site at an event or establishment just before entry.

Bars and restaurants plan to treat the order the same way they check identification for alcohol.

"It's literally, 'Hey got your I.D.? Have your vaccination card?" said Rhein Haus Seattle General Manager Jeremy Walcott. "If anything gets disgruntled [we'll say], 'Hey we're refusing service to you because you're not following the law. That's the law now.'"

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Rhein Haus Seattle already requires proof of vaccination for people sitting at the bar or entering after 10 p.m.

King County said several forms of vaccine proof will be valid under the order:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card or photo of the card.
  • Printed certificate or QR code (available in late September) from MyIRMobile.com. (MyIR Mobile is currently limited to the English language only. For language assistance, or additional help getting your records, call the Washington State Vaccine Helpline at 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357) or email waissrecords@doh.wa.gov).
  • Another official immunization record from within or outside the United States, including from your health care provider. A photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.

King County said it will review the order in six months to assess its continued need.

Walcott said it's rare they see someone who isn't vaccinated, and if they do, they can still sit at the patio.

Rhein Haus servers will be the ones checking vaccinations cards, but as general manager, Walcott will handle any disagreements.

"Be respectful of our rules, be respectful of the mandate that's coming through. Help me follow those rules, and I think that's the best way to do it," said Walcott.