King County announces it will step up vaccine policy enforcement efforts
King County announced today that it will begin enforcement efforts for businesses that are out of compliance with the vaccine public health order. We expect more information including a new set of FAQs sometime next week.
The Washington Hospitality Association understands the additional strain this mandate has placed on some members. Our local government affairs team is advocating for additional financial relief to help those businesses most impacted by this mandate.
We will keep you posted on any new developments.
As with prior Public Health orders, our primary focus has been on education and technical assistance. Now that businesses have had nearly a month to come into compliance with vaccine verification, we will begin to implement enforcement mechanisms, if needed, for businesses that choose to violate the order even after multiple warnings from Public Health.
Here’s how the enforcement process will work:
- Education and outreach: If we receive a complaint of a business being out of compliance with the policy, we will reach out to the business to notify them of the complaint, share educational resources, and inform them of the enforcement process.
- In-person inspection: If we determine the business is choosing to be out of compliance, or if we receive three or more complaints about the business, we will send an inspector to the business to discuss the violations and investigate whether the complaints are accurate.
- Notice of violation: If the inspector determines that the business continues to choose to be in non-compliance, Public Health will issue a “notice of violation,” which serves as a warning of fines that could be issued if the business does not work to come into full compliance.
- Second inspection & fines: If, after a second in-person inspection, we determine that the business continues to choose to be non-compliant, we will begin issuing escalating fines, starting at $250.
- Business closure: If, after fines and multiple inspections, a business still chooses not to implement vaccination verification, we may explore temporarily closing the business.