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Toolkit — Vaccine and mask options (and requirements) for your business

Nov 30, 2021 | Entertainment Reopening Guide, Hotel COVID-19 Operations Guide, Reopening 2021, Restaurant Reopening Guide, Toolkits

Latest Update: 12-20-21

Reuters: U.S. COVID-19 vaccine mandate revived, Supreme Court showdown looms

CNN: Supreme Court receives appeals asking Kavanaugh to block large employer vaccine mandate


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[Ask a Lawyer] New vaccine requirements with employment law attorney Catharine Morisset
New federal vaccine mandate rules for large employers
King County vaccine requirements
Masks are now mandatory
Vaccines options to consider
Vaccine verification
[Ask a Lawyer] Vaccine policies with employment law attorney Catharine Morisset
Sample forms & model policies
Resources


The availability of multiple coronavirus vaccines at the start of 2021 left many to hope the pandemic would soon be a thing of the past. Lagging vaccination rates and a dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations are stark reminders the pandemic is far from over. While we are thankful the state fully reopened, the delta variant is spreading rapidly. The state’s health care system is once again under strain. Local governments began issuing mask mandates to limit the spread of the virus. And now a statewide mask mandate has been announced.

State and local guidance and requirements continue to change regularly. We will continue to send you updates as new public health requirements are imposed. And we will post all new information on the Current Guidance and Requirements page on the Washington Hospitality Association Coronavirus Resource Hub. Below are resources, options and requirements as you consider mask and vaccine policies that work best for your business.


[Ask a Lawyer] New vaccine requirements with employment law attorney Catharine Morisset

New state and federal vaccine and testing mandates are upon for companies with 100 or more employees. Employment lawyer Catharine Morisset discusses what this means for your business.

Click here to watch this informative webinar on our members only site.

Note: The vaccine mandate is currently being challenged by multiple state attorneys general. A stay was issued in November putting the mandate on hold, however the mandate was reinstated by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 17. An appeal was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 20. As a reminder, state governors have the legal authority to enact workplace safety policies independent of mandates issued at the federal level. Therefore, the Washington Hospitality Association is advising our members to prepare as if these new employee vaccination requirements will eventually go into effect in Washington state.


New federal vaccine mandate rules for large employers

New rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require workers at companies with 100 or more employees (within the entire organization, not per location) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022 or get tested for the virus weekly.

  • Workers at companies with 100 or more employees (within the entire organization, not per location) will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022 or get tested for the virus weekly.
  • Unvaccinated workers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week and wear a mask while in the workplace.
  • Companies won’t be required to provide or pay for the tests, but they must give paid time off for employees to get vaccines and sick leave to recover from side effects that prevent them from working.
  • The rule requires covered employers to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy starting December 5, which includes mask requirements for unvaccinated employees and paid time off for getting the vaccine (up to four hours per shot).

Note: The vaccine mandate is currently being challenged by multiple state attorneys general, though the policy is on hold after an emergency stay was issued by a federal court. As a reminder, state governors have the legal authority to enact workplace safety policies independent of mandates issued at the federal level. Therefore, the Washington Hospitality Association is advising our members to prepare as if these new employee vaccination requirements will eventually go into effect in Washington state.


King County vaccine requirements

***UPDATE (11/24/21)*** King County announces it will step up vaccine policy enforcement efforts

King County has implemented a vaccine (or negative test) requirement for guests entering restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, music venues and large sporting venuesThis new vaccine requirement went into effect on Oct. 25 for most businesses that are subject to the new policy. Similar vaccine requirements are in place in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

You can read the full King County vaccine verification order here.

“Fully vaccinated” means that a person has received all the required doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine (two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or a WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series, and 14 days have passed since the final dose.

The Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce has a helpful website, toolkit, and calendar of events to help businesses with vaccine verification requirements. Additional information can be found on the Seattle – King County Public Health website.

Crisis Prevention Institute: Top 10 De-Escalation Tips
In the light of the many recent hardships, it feels almost glib to suggest that de-escalation is really ever this simple. The truth is that there is no magic recipe for keeping troubling things from happening in the world. But there is a way that you can respond to these kinds of events that is constructive, positive, and impacts real resolution. That’s why CPI training is not so much a series of steps as it is a philosophy for viewing humanity as full of potential. These de-escalation tips from CPI are about support, not suppression, and about seeing each other with the humanity and compassion that each of us wants to be seen with.

 

Seattle Metro Chamber Webinars

Best Practices for Customer Vaccination Verification (10.7.21)

Complying with the Vaccine Mandate: Meeting Venues & Hotels (10.12.21)

King County Update and Digital Vaccine Verification Options (10.13.21)


Masks are now mandatory

A statewide mandatory mask mandate for indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, and for outdoor venues with 500 or more people will be in place until further notice by order of Gov. Jay Inslee. The order applies to public settings like restaurants, clubs and hotels. Like the previous masking orders, this latest order has several exceptions. Masks are not required while people are actively eating or drinking. People performing in the arts, such as playing live music, are not required to wear face masks. However, spectators of that performance, such as people dancing to the live music, are required to wear masks unless they are also actively eating or drinking. There is also an exception for work settings with 100% fully vaccinated employees and no public face-to-face interaction. Read the full text of the order, including the entire exception list, here.

Downloadable signs Check out our mask and vaccine signage library for a variety of downloadable signs you a can put on display in your business.

UPDATE: 10.22.21

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions Regarding Worker Face Covering and Mask Requirements

Businesses are required to follow face covering requirements in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s face covering order for all individuals, vaccinated or not, in indoor public spaces. These common questions and answers are to help with implementation of Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation, the Washington State Department of Health’s order, and L&I regulatory policy related to COVID-19 and the use of face coverings, masks and respirators.

Click here for an updated FAQ from the Department of Labor and Industries on masking rules for Washington state businesses & workers.

This information is being updated as new questions come in.

 

Vaccines options to consider

Reports of bars and restaurants requiring proof of vaccination are emerging all over the country. Dozens of Seattle- and Tacoma-area bars and restaurants have adopted vaccine requirements for guests. Local mandates are now in place for guests in Jefferson, Clallam and King counties. If you’re an employer in a county that doesn’t have a vaccine mandate, you have several options to consider. You can:

  • require your employees to get the coronavirus vaccine as a condition of employment,
  • require your guests to show proof of full vaccination as a condition of entry onto the premises,
  • require both employees and guests to be fully vaccinated
  • require proof of a negative COVID test within the last xx hours (48-72 hours is a common window) as an alternative to being vaccinated.
  • Not require proof of vaccination for employees or guests.

There are several legal issues to consider related to vaccine policies. Check out this recent webinar with employment law attorney Catharine Morisset regarding this issue.

Washington State Department of Health: Can your employer require a COVID-19 vaccination?

Vaccine verification

If you adopt a guest vaccine requirement, there are a few methods you can use for verification. Most people don’t carry their vaccine cards with them and instead have a photo of their card in their smartphones. Many businesses accept this method accompanied by a photo ID. Other verification methods include the official CDC vaccine card (although watch out for counterfeit cards on the rise), a downloaded or screenshot health record and various vaccine passport apps that are now coming online.  And coming soon, the Department of Health is working on a scannable QR code system with the MyIR mobile app to provide quick and easy vaccine verification.

Crisis Prevention Institute: Top 10 De-Escalation Tips

Canity: Dealing with Rude Customers

[Ask a Lawyer] Vaccine policies with employment law attorney Catharine Morisset

The law, various health department rules, CDC guidelines, and best practices on mask and vaccine policies continue to change and evolve as has been the case throughout the pandemic. We sat down with Catharine Morisset, employment law attorney with Fisher & Phillips, for updated answers to some FAQs regarding vaccines. Below is summary of Catharine’s answers to vaccine questions. Head on over to the member-only HUB for her more detailed explanations on these complex issues. Catharine also joined us for our most recent Ask a Lawyer webinar where she discussed the new legal developments on masks and vaccines. Head over to the member-only HUB to watch that replay and hear Catharine’s answers to member questions. How do I implement a mandatory vaccine program for my guests?

  • Decide why – Make sure you have sound business reasons for requiring vaccines for your guests.
  • Communicate your policy – Have a plan in place to communicate the details of your policy, including the reasons for it, on the various channels you use to connect with your customers.
  • Be ready for accommodation requests – Have customer service alternatives ready such as outdoor dining and to-go options for unvaccinated guests.

How do I implement a mandatory vaccine program for my employees? Similar to guests, follow the three steps: decide, communicate, accommodate. What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? A person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the:

  • second dose of the two-dose series vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna)
  • single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

How can I verify my workers have been fully vaccinated? Acceptable verification methods include:

  • visual inspection or copy of a CDC vaccine card
  • doctor’s note
  • state immunization record
  • hard copy or electronic signed employee attestation

Remember such information should be treated as confidential medical information. What if I don’t believe the employee’s accommodation request is based on a bona fide, sincerely held, religious belief? Be careful. Denying an accommodation because you think the belief is not religious or sincere is risky. Employers should first check with an employment law attorney. 

Sample forms & model policies

These forms are samples only and are not intended as legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor for information specific to your business.

Downloadable signs Masks Required – Seated Exception Masks Required – No Exceptions Masks Required Welcome Back! Please be Kind. Visit the full mask & vaccine sign library here.

Resources

Washington Hospitality Association Current Guidance and Requirements
Crisis Prevention Institute: Top 10 De-Escalation Tips
National Restaurant Association
Restaurant Guidance: Legal Issues to Consider Regarding COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Policies
Taking a Shot at COVID-19: What Restaurants Need To Know About Vaccinating their Workforce
Nationwide tracker for state and local mask mandates and COVID-19 related requirements
Vaccination mandates: How to handle asking for proof
Use science to make your case for mask, vaccine mandates
Vaccine & mask mandates webinar: Use science to make your case
Department of Health (DOH) Face Coverings and Masks
Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Mask and Distancing Requirements (6.30.21)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC: When you’ve been fully vaccinated (5.16.21)