King County is working to set up a COVID-19 vaccine verification system that could go into effect next month at certain non-essential, high-risk settings.
The Seattle Times reports this would make it easier for places like clubs, theaters and stadiums to check the vaccination status of their patrons.
King County’s announcement Tuesday comes as nearly all major spectator sports in the Seattle area said they would require vaccination (or a recent negative COVID test) for admission to their games.
The county said it is gathering feedback from community organizations, labor unions, businesses and cities.
“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective, and readily available, and verifying vaccination in certain non-essential, high-risk settings can make those places safer for the public, workers, and our community, including children who are not currently eligible for vaccination,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County’s Health Officer.
Vaccines are free and health insurance is not required.
Other jurisdictions, including New York, San Francisco and British Columbia, have begun to implement vaccine verification systems.
The NFL’s Seahawks, MLS’s Sounders, NHL’s Kraken, MLB’s Mariners, the University of Washington and Washington State University all announced updated policies Tuesday requiring fans attending games this season to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or that they’ve tested negative for the virus.
The Seahawks will be the first to implement the requirements, starting with their Sept. 19 home opener against Tennessee. Fans will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours of the event to be granted entry.
“The health and safety of our guests, players and staff is always our top priority and we remain committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe,” Seahawks President Chuck Arnold said in a statement. “These measures will allow us to continue with plans to host a full stadium of fans, while still providing a safe and fun experience for our guests.”
Washington will begin an identical verification process for fans with its Sept. 25 home game against California. The Sounders will begin with their Oct. 3 match against Colorado. Washington State said its verification process will begin in October.
The Mariners said fans should plan to provide proof of vaccination for any potential postseason games the team hosts. The Mariners’ regular-season home finale is Oct. 3. The team also said all front office, event staff and Mariners employees at team operated facilities in the U.S. were told in late August they must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 4 as a condition of employment.
While the other Seattle teams are permitting a negative test to gain entry, the Kraken will only allow vaccinated fans at games. The requirements will remain in place for other events at Climate Pledge Arena, including concerts.
The team said it will introduce a process to have proof of vaccination shown via smartphones. The first Kraken home game is scheduled for Oct. 23 against Vancouver.
The Kraken said the vaccination requirement will also apply to the team’s three preseason games, which will be played in Spokane, Everett and Kent.