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Vaccination proof required at Olympic Peninsula restaurants

Associated Press

Associated Press

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – People who want to enter restaurants and bars on the north Olympic Peninsula in Jefferson and Clallam counties must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

The proof-of-vaccination requirement was announced Thursday and began Saturday after talks between Allison Berry – health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties – public health department staffers, chambers of commerce representatives on the Peninsula, and some businesses, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

They highlighted that the vaccination requirement would be less costly and less damaging to restaurants and bars than capacity restrictions or takeout only, Berry said.

“Our goal is to make these safer places to be and to reduce transmission in our communities, allowing our hospitals to keep functioning and our schools to open more safely,” Berry said.

Unvaccinated people can still be seated outdoors at establishments, according to the order. Those 12 and up must show proof to go inside, the order says.

Food service establishments can lose their operating permit if the county health department finds willful noncompliance, KUOW reported.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising in the past few weeks and hospitals are strained, officials said earlier this week.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Washington has climbed over the past two weeks from 3,023 new cases per day on Aug. 19 to 5,120 new cases per day on Thursday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Many restaurants, bars and other venues in and around Seattle , and in other cities such as Spokane – including eateries like the downtown Baby Bar – Tacoma and Bellingham are also requiring customers to show proof of vaccination as a condition for entry.

A statewide mask mandate is also in place for everyone over the age of 5 in most public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

Public health experts and hospitals fear Labor Day weekend group activities and travel could further drive up virus surges.

The CDC advised that unvaccinated people should not travel.