Washington events, religious services to have ‘vaccinated sections’


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington state will soon have sections for vaccinated attendees of large events and religious services.

Governor Jay Inslee on Monday announced plans that allow spectator events and religious and faith based organizations to increase capacity with those sections in place.

Under the new spectator events guidance: 

  • Outdoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum or
    22,000 people, whichever is lower, inclusive of both vaccinated and unvaccinated sections.
    Outdoor unvaccinated spectators cannot exceed 9,000 people.
  • Indoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity is 50% maximum, or
    maximum 2000 people, whichever is lower, inclusive of both vaccinated and unvaccinated
    sections. Indoor unvaccinated spectators in Phase 2 cannot exceed 200 people, or 300 for rooms
    greater than 100,000 square feet of space—and indoor unvaccinated spectators in Phase 3
    cannot exceed 400 people, or 600 for rooms greater than 100,000 square feet of space.

Under the new religious and faith based organization guidance:

  • Religious and faith based organizations with vaccinated-only sections are allowed to increase overall facility capacity to 50% in Phase 2. 

Under the updated guidance the following are acceptable as proof of full vaccination: Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date last dose administered) OR a photo of a vaccination card as a separate document OR a photo of the attendee’s vaccine card stored on a phone or electronic device OR documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider electronic health record or state Immunization Information System record.

Self-reported vaccination records that are not verified by a health care provider cannot be accepted.

‘Right move going forward’

Currently Clark County is in Phase 3. Clark County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager doesn’t believe the county will be rolled back into Phase 2. He said they’ve been talking with the state about ways to make getting vaccinated more appealing to people.

“It sounds like if you have a section with a defined entrance and exits and is not going to mix with the greater crowd, that section and the people there you can verify are vaccinated,” Dr. Krager said. ” You can increase capacity as well as allow those people to sit together and not distance from one another.”

He noted there will be other sporting events where it will be safer for people to attend.

I think in a lot of ways it makes a lot of sense that the risk of transmission from vaccinated persons is super low. I would feel pretty confident, if I am fully vaccinated and I am going to an event in a section where I know I’m going to be around fully vaccinated people I’d feel pretty safe at that event.”

Michelle Thana with Visit Vancouver USA said they’re glad to see capacity expanding, “whatever shape that takes.”

“We are definitely hoping we can see our small festivals and events at Esther Short Park start to come back as we get into the summer months,” Thana said.

Krager noted that having a vaccine requirement to go to a certain event is a new concept.

“We will have to navigate it a little bit but I think, overall, I think people will be really excited to feel comfortable to go to these types of events.”

“My message to people is getting vaccinated is going to be the best thing for you, the best thing for your health, protecting your family and getting back to some sense normal,” Krager said.
And he’s in favor of the vaccinated sections concept.

“I think it’s the right move going forward,” Dr. Krager said.

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