Several Seattle bars close after positive COVID-19 cases; others requiring proof of vaccination

COVID-19 cases among people fully vaccinated have some bars temporarily closed in Seattle while their employees wait through the incubation period and get tested.

Other businesses are starting to require customers to show proof of vaccination before they let you in.

It’s not clear what strain of COVID-19 employees at multiple bars developed, but several businesses said the people who got sick are fully vaccinated. The delta variant is currently the dominant strain in Washington state, making up more than 80% of cases, according to UW Medicine Virology. (It makes up about 75% of new COVID-19 cases in King County.)

“I’m actually very concerned about this,” said Liz Ozoa, who lives in Seattle.

One location impacted is Unicorn bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A sign on its door read, “We are temporarily closed. ☹ (Sadly even the bars who follow COVID protocol can get bit by the COVID bug. It doesn’t pick and choose.)” The bar closed over the weekend Friday and hopes to open by Friday.

Update: Another member of our team tested positive this week. The last day they worked was Saturday afternoon. To allow...

Posted by Unicorn on Monday, July 26, 2021

“I live nearby. I go to Unicorn like once a week, so it’s kind of a bummer that they’re closed down right now,” Ozoa said. “It is a bit concerning too that they got COVID after being vaccinated,” she said.

Other bars like Jupiter in Belltown and Inside Passage in Capitol Hill are in the same boat. Both posted on social media stating after one or more employees tested positive for COVID-19, they temporarily closed so that everyone could get tested.

Other businesses are choosing to add another layer of safety.

“We are going to require proof of vaccination,” said Keith Waldbauer, bar manager at The Doctor’s Office, a bar owned by – you guessed it, a doctor.

Their new policy is going to start Sunday. You have to either show your vaccine card, a photo of it, proof from your doctor’s office, or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours.

“He (the owner) saw the numbers. He’s had firsthand experience working at the hospital. And as you can read from the Instagram posts and tweets, his frustration level is high, and he wants to nip this in the bud,” Waldbauer said.

The post read, “Anyone giving our staff the slightest bit of pushback on this matter will be barred for life.”

Waldbauer said the response online has been “incredibly positive.”

The Queer Bar is another location that will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. Its website read, “We have made the difficult decision to require proof of vaccination for entry into The Cuff Complex, queer/bar, and The Woods. The safety of our patrons, staff, and performers is of utmost importance to us. With the current Covid numbers and health and safety guidelines/recommendations, it felt like the right decision to update our policy.”

Many neighbors in the area said they support businesses taking this step.

“If it was a place I really liked, then I don’t mind taking my vaccination card,” said Kirk Blackden, another Seattle resident.

“I think it’s really important to keep people accountable,” Ozoa said.

UW Medicine reminds you that while it might be concerning to hear about breakthrough cases, almost all are mild. The state reported 96% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated.