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Inslee won't add to Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate

Jay Inslee in a suit adjusts a face mask.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press file
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee puts on a mask after speaking at a news conference on Aug. 18, 2021, at the Capitol.

Gov. Jay Inslee says he won’t pursue additional sweeping mandates to strengthen a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers at large employers.

President Joe Biden has ordered that companies with 100 or more workers require COVID shots starting in January. Instead of getting vaccinated, those workers could be tested weekly.

Inslee has said he was considering additional state orders to make the Biden mandate more strict, but now he says he will retain Biden's threshold of employers with more than 100 employees and will allow the testing option in lieu of vaccine — something not allowed under Inslee's mandate for state workers.

The governor, however, said he couldn't rule out adopting stricter rules if the trajectory changes, in which case he "might have to take more aggressive actions."

Biden's mandate is on hold after a stay was issued following multiple legal challenges after the rules were released.

Austin Jenkins of Northwest News Network contributed to this report.