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Inslee drops vaccine requirement for outdoor contractors, volunteers outside of healthcare

The change affects contractors like contracted and volunteer wildland firefighters, construction workers and landscapers.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee dropped the COVID-19 vaccination requirement Friday for outdoor contractors and volunteers whose work does not involve healthcare services. 

This means contractors like landscapers, contracted or volunteer wildland firefighters and contracted construction workers no longer have to comply with Washington's vaccination guidelines to work with the state. 

Vaccination requirements for other state agencies, healthcare and educational settings remain unchanged. 

Vaccine requirements for state contractors were brought into the spotlight In January when the Kittitas County Department of Public Works (KCDPW) offered help clearing roadways that were blocked with snow, including State Route 903 near Ronald. Residents complained there was only one passable lane on the road for multiple days.  

However, the state could not accept the county's help, because the KCDPW could not meet the vaccine declaration requirement for contracts with state agencies.

The Board of Commissioners for Kittitas County, which did not issue a vaccine requirement for employees, released a statement saying they were "extremely disappointed" with the state for refusing the department's help. 

Instead, WSDOT contracted with a private Kittitas County company to provide dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers to remove the snow from SR 903. 

At the time, third-party contractors were required to sign the department's vaccination declaration, meaning they "have a process to verify" full vaccination of employees working on-site or a separate process to grant and document exemptions and corresponding accommodations of current and future employees.


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