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Vaccinated sections allowed at stadiums, churches

Washington residents vaccinated against COVID-19 might get access to special sections at stadiums, ballparks, graduation ceremonies or churches.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee released new guidelines for venues that want to include vaccinated sections .

The guidelines would differ depending on what phase of reopening a county is in, but vaccinated sections could help such venues, both indoor and outdoor, reopen to many more people who are fully vaccinated.

Outdoor facilities can add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is at 50% or 22,000 people, whichever is lower. Outdoor facilities with unvaccinated spectators cannot exceed 9,000 people, however.

This means many more people could enjoy Mariners games or high school athletic events if there are enough vaccinated people in attendance. Previously, an outdoor stadium in a Phase 3 county could only accommodate a capacity of 25% per section or 9,000 spectators maximum, whichever was lower.

For indoor stadiums or venues, vaccinated sections can be added until the total capacity, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated spectators, is at 50% or 2,000 people, whichever is lower.

Vaccinated sections are for people who are 16 and older and considered fully vaccinated, or two weeks past their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Children and teenagers under 16 years old must present a negative COVID test from the last 72 hours to be seated in the vaccinated section.

For proof of vaccination, venues can ask to see a person’s vaccination card, or a photo of it, or proof of vaccination from state immunization records.

Churches and places of worship can also have vaccinated-only sections, but guidelines differ from those of spectator events and venues.

Vaccination rates continue to increase gradually in Spokane County. About 35% of Spokane County’s total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but this percentage includes all county residents, not just those 16 and older who are eligible for a vaccine.

Of the county’s residents who are eligible to get vaccinated, 45% of county residents have gotten at least one dose.

Hospitalizations and case rates still appear too high for the county to remain in Phase 3 on Tuesday, when the governor and the Department of Health will evaluate county case rates and hospitalization data and likely move several counties back to Phase 2.

There are plenty of vaccine appointments available in Spokane County, including walk-up appointments available at both the Spokane Arena and the CHAS clinic at Spokane Community College. Both sites have availability and appointments open this week from Wednesday to Saturday.

For a list of providers offering the vaccine, visit the state’s vaccine locator or call (800) 525-0127, then press the pound key (#).

Here’s a look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 71 new cases on Monday and two additional deaths due to COVID-19.

There are 614 deaths from the virus recorded in Spokane County.

There are 91 patients with the virus being treated in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 69 new cases of the virus on Monday and during the weekend. There are 23 Panhandle residents hospitalized with COVID-19.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.