Current Guidance and Requirements
Updated September 15, 2021
Business guidance and requirements from the governor’s office, state agencies and public health officials continue to evolve as circumstances around the pandemic change. This page will be updated with the most recent federal, state and local guidance and requirements for business operators.
Specific guidance and restrictions may vary at the local level. Be sure to check with your local public health officials for any additional requirements that may be in place in our area.
Orders from President Joe Biden
Late last week, the Biden Administration announced a new vaccine requirement focused on a large portion of the country’s workforce. Details are still scarce at this point, though early reporting suggests the proposed rule will apply to employers with 100 or more employees. Fines of up to $14,000 per violation could be levied for non-compliance.
There are far more questions than answers at this point. The association’s government affairs team will monitor these new developments and share additional details as we learn more.
Orders from Governor Jay Inslee
Sept. 9: Governor Jay Inslee announced a new statewide mask mandate for everyone five years of age and older regardless of vaccination status for outdoor events of 500 or more people. This new statewide policy goes into effect on Monday, Sept. 13 and is similar to requirements that were put in place in King and Pierce counties this week.
Aug. 18: A indoor mask mandate is now in effect statewide. The mask mandate applies to most public places including restaurants, grocery stores, malls and public-facing offices, regardless of vaccination status. There are limited exceptions when face coverings are not required, such as while actively eating and drinking, in office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated, and when working alone indoors or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction. Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt.
Read the full text of the indoor masking order here.
Local public health orders
Jefferson and Clallam County vaccine requirement for restaurants and bars
Sept. 2: All patrons entering an indoor restaurant or bar in Jefferson and Clallam Counties must provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, beginning Saturday, September 4, according to a public health order issued by Doctor Allison Berry, Health Officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.
Washington State Department of Health (DOH)
Guidance for Non-Health Care Businesses and Organizations during COVID-19
As Washington State reopens and Governor Inslee rescinds coronavirus restrictions for businesses, there continue to be several public health recommendations for businesses, organizations, and other non-health care workplaces to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in their establishments and communities. Good public health practices can protect employees, volunteers, and members of the public that visit these establishments. This document contains information for non-health care workplaces about their ongoing prevention responsibilities, orders and directives that remain in place, and how to respond and work with public health in the event of a coronavirus case or outbreak at their establishment.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)
L&I Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19
Businesses in Washington state are now able to open at full capacity and have fewer requirements to follow to protect employees from coronavirus. This document covers topics such as masking, vaccination verification, protecting unvaccinated workers and reasonable accommodations.
Protecting High-Risk Employees from Discrimination During Public Health Emergencies
On May 11, 2021, Governor Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 5115 into law, effective immediately. This new law, known as the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), applies to workplaces only during a declared public health emergency involving an infectious or contagious disease. The following questions and answers can help you understand HELSA’s requirements to protect high risk employees from discrimination.
Washington State Coronavirus Hazard Considerations for Employers
Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirator Choices
Proper face covering guidance for businesses based on risk assessment
Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD)
Whether you need to hire employees, are facing layoffs, or have to let an employee go, ESD has resources and information that can help you.
Return to Work
As the economy reopens in phases during the coronavirus crisis, the Employment Security Department and its workforce partners are supporting workers and businesses with continued unemployment and re-employment services. This Return to Work page provides a range of resources including information on job and training opportunities for workers and resources to maintain a skilled workforce for employers, as well as information on unemployment benefit eligibility, conducting work search activities, offers to return to work and more.
National Restaurant Association
COVID-19 Operating Guidance
The National Restaurant Association continues to collaborate with safety experts from government organizations, academia, the public health sector, and corporations to bring operators the most up-to-date guidelines to support safe dining.
This updated COVID-19 Operating Guidance, our 6th edition, is intended to complement the official guidelines put in place by your state and local authorities.
Vaccination mandates: How to handle asking for proof
Before you ask for proof of vaccination, be aware of and prepare for legal and logistical ramifications to enforce the policy.