Inslee: Large events must require vaccine verification or negative COVID-19 test

<p><p>OLYMPIA — Attendees of large events in Washington will soon be required to show vaccine verification or a negative COVID-19 test before entering, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday. </p></p><p><p>Beginning Nov. 15, large events will be required to verify that all attendees 12 years or older are either fully vaccinated or received a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. The requirement applies to indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees and outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees.</p></p><p><p>“This is another step in this ongoing battle against COVID-19,” Inslee told reporters Thursday. </p></p><p><p>The requirement will apply to ticketed or registered events only, including concerts, sporting events, fairs or theme parks. It does not include religious services or events held on K-12 school grounds. It also does not cover large venues like shopping malls, museums or grocery stores.</p></p><p><p>Although outdoor events are still the safest venues, Inslee said there is still some transmission risk associated with them. </p></p><p><p>An acceptable form of vaccine verification is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention card or a photo of the card; a printed or screenshot of a vaccination certificate from <a href=”;rlz=1C1LENP_enUS906US906&amp;oq=myirmobile&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57j0i10i512l2j0i512j0i10i512l5.2001j0j7&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8″ target=”_blank”></a>; or an official documentation from a physician. A negative COVID-19 test can be verified through a record provided by the test provider or laboratory. </p></p><p><p>The requirement will not include showing a drivers license along with the vaccine card, according to Inslee’s office. </p></p><p><p>The Department of Health is currently working on a digital verification process that may verify vaccine cards within the program and give users a QR code they can scan at events, Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said. A QR code or similar program could make it quicker for venues to check vaccines or testing and not lead to long wait times to enter.</p></p><p><p>Many large venues in the state have already had this requirement to attend. For example, similar requirements were in place at Spokane Pavilion events, Washington State University games, University of Washington games, Seahawks games and Kraken games.</p></p><p><p>This new requirement will likely apply to most if not all events at the Spokane Arena, which can accommodate 10,000 to more than 11,000 people for concerts there depending on the arrangement. Other events, like hockey games, can accommodate more than 9,000 fans at the Arena.</p></p><p><p>Some but not all venues in Spokane have already implemented similar requirements to the governor’s announced on Thursday. Lucky You Lounge, which hosts multiple shows and concerts a week, requires vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event. </p></p><p><p>The reason for instating a statewide vaccine requirement at these large events is because not everybody is doing it, Inslee said. </p></p><p><p>“What we have done to date is not adequate,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Cases rates and hospitalizations are showing some decline statewide but are still “at an extremely high number,” Shah said. Because they remain high, preventing the spread at large events is important.</p></p><p><p>“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Shah said. “There’s a lot of really important work ahead of us.”</p></p><p><p>Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have steadily dropped in Spokane County so far this month, although they are currently at levels seen last winter.</p></p><p><p><strong>Here’s a look at local numbers:</strong></p></p><p><p>The Spokane Regional Health District reported 294 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths on Thursday.</p></p><p><p>There have been 878 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County.</p></p><p><p>There are 150 patients hospitalized with the virus in Spokane hospitals.</p></p><p><p>The Panhandle Health District reported 380 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths. There are 3,142 cases of the virus backlogged still.</p></p><p><p>There have been 534 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.</p></p><p><p>There are 132 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.</p></p>