New state mandate requires full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test to attend large events

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that large events will be required to verify that all attendees are either fully vaccinated or have received a negative test in the last 72 hours.

This requirement, which goes into effect on Nov. 15, applies to all attendees 12 or older.

Large events are defined as indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees and outdoor events with 10,000 or more attendees.

While the governor issued the new mandate during his news conference, he stated at the beginning that 92% of state workers had been vaccinated ahead of Monday’s mandate deadline.

However, while COVID-19 is trending down in the state, he said it has not dropped far enough or fast enough.

“What we have done today, the status quo is not adequate. We do not have enough protections, we do not have enough people vaccinated to give Washingtonians confidence that another wave is not going to hit us,” Inslee said.

As this new mandate requires people to get vaccinated or have a negative test, it comes days before government workers are required to be vaccinated or face losing their jobs and testing is not an option.

KIRO 7′s Essex Porter asked the governor why testing as an alternative for state workers isn’t acceptable, given that testing is OK for indoor gatherings of 1,000 people or more.

“The reason we’re having a test-out option is that in order to deal with the religious exemption and medical exemption issue, it is very difficult to ask a football team to assess the religious or medical exemption request of 70,000 people,” Inslee said.

The mandate requirement applies to ticketed or registered events, like conventions, concerts, sporting events, fairs, theme parks and more.

This requirement does not include religious services or events that are held on K-12 school grounds.

“We cannot and we will not surrender to this disease,” said Inslee.

During the news conference, the governor made it very clear that he is not making any changes at all to Monday’s mandate that state workers be vaccinated or lose their jobs.

The governor was also asked about the federal government’s plans to soon require vaccines or testing at businesses with 100 or more people. He said that when the state receives those regulations, it will likely eliminate the testing option.

Below is Gov. Jay Inslee’s full news conference he held on Oct. 14, 2021