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Clallam, Jefferson counties requiring COVID-19 vaccination for indoor dining

Clallam and Jefferson Counties' health officer said she believes the vaccination requirement will be more effective and less costly than capacity limitations.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Wash. — Anyone who wants to dine in a restaurant or a bar in Clallam or Jefferson counties will need to show proof they were vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Health Officer for Jefferson and Clallam Counties Dr. Allison Berry passed down the order on Thursday, saying "Indoor bars and restaurants are known to pose a high risk for COVID-19 transmission, as they encourage unmasking of large groups of people indoors. Our goal is to make these safer places to be and to reduce transmission in our communities, allowing our hospitals to keep functioning and our schools to open more safely this fall." 

Patrons can show their COVID-19 vaccination card, a Washington State Department of Health certificate of COVID-19 vaccination, a printed copy of a DOH vaccination record, a photograph of any of those documents or an app-based vaccine passport, according to a release from Jefferson County Public Health. 

Employees of restaurants and bars who stay masked continuously do not need to show proof of vaccination. Children under 12 who aren't eligible for the vaccines may also dine in restaurants without showing proof. 

There have been 495 COVID-19 outbreaks traced to restaurants and bars in Washington, including several in Jefferson and Clallam counties, according to the DOH's most recent situation report.

Dr. Berry said she believes the vaccination requirement will be more effective and less costly than capacity limitations in restaurants. 

"We want to keep our businesses open while protecting the public. This is how we do it," she said. 

"With hospitals around our region stretched to the breaking point, we need to do everything we can to keep our communities safe,” Dr. Berry said. “Getting vaccinated with this incredible vaccine, which is safe, effective, free and life-saving, is simply the right thing to do.”