More people will be allowed at indoor and outdoor spectator events and indoor religious services if there are designated COVID-19 vaccination sections, under new guidance issued by Gov. Jay Inslee Monday.
The change — which takes effect immediately — affects capacity at sporting events, graduations and other events for counties in the second and third phases of the state's economic reopening plan. A vaccination card or other documentation that proves vaccination status will be needed for access to vaccination sections.
While previously there were only limited circumstances where spectator events were allowed to reach 50% capacity, under the new guidance, outdoor facilities may add vaccinated sections until their total capacity —including vaccinated and unvaccinated sections — is at 50% or 22,000 people, whichever is lower. There can be no more than 9,000 unvaccinated people at the outdoor event.
For indoor facilities, vaccinated sections can also be added until their total capacity is 50% maximum, though the maximum number must not exceed 2,000 people, and the number indoor unvaccinated spectators varies depending on the size of the room and what phase of the state's economic opening plan a county is in.
Religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 2 counties are allowed to increase overall facility capacity to 50% if they add vaccinated-only sections.
Children between age 2 and 15 are allowed in vaccination sections if there is proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Children under the age of 2 do not need a COVID-test in order to be admitted to a vaccinated section with a vaccinated adult.
The guidance comes a day ahead of a decision on how many more counties may have to roll back to more restrictions on things like capacity on indoor dining and gyms. Currently, just four of the state's 39 counties are in the more restrictive Phase 2, but several counties are expected to roll back from Phase 3 this week due to an increase in cases and hospitalizations.