Washington officials share guidance for businesses as state prepares to reopen

OLYMPIA, Wash. – As Washington prepares for reopening on June 30th, officials have clarified some information being tossed around about vaccine proof, masks and restrictions.

“For the most part, your business activity will be able to return to just like it was in 2019,” Nick Streuli with the Governor’s Office said.

Come June 30th, Streuli said there are many changes employers and patrons will notice in Washington businesses.

“Things like occupancy percentage restrictions, some of the cleaning requirements that have been in place, the social distancing requirements will also fall away,” he said.

Locally, the Benton Franklin Health District just rescinded the ‘No Mask, No Business’ order for businesses in the area, but you could be asked to show vaccine proof.

Lacy Fehrenbach with the Washington Department of Health said businesses can still require masks, regardless of vaccination status, if they don’t want to check vaccine cards.

“It is somewhat of an honor system and employers may check if they want to we did not make that a requirement because it is pretty onerous to do potentially,” she said.

Craig Blackwood with Labor and Industry said it’s important for employers to keep a record of vaccination attestations, if employees want to share their status in order to remove their mask. He added the records can’t be verbal attestations.

“No, it is not a HIPAA violation to simply ask about vaccination status, any follow up questions, could be a problem,” he said.

Blackwood explained Washington L and I can issue citations, and remember, falsifying a COVID-19 vaccine card is a felony.

He also clarified a rumor that’s been going around.

“L and I is not going to come to an employers site asking for vaccination records of your employees, one that’s getting widespread; we are going to ask for what method do you use to verify self attestations,” he said.

For more resources regarding fully reopening, visit the Washington L and I website.

Need to get vaccinated? Visit KAPP KVEW’s COVID-19 headquarters online.