It’s time to reopen -- Resources and guidance for businesses

By: Rachel Smith Posted: 07/12/2021

Here’s what we can all do to create community protection and to prevent COVID-19 spread

Through our partnership with King County, we are bringing you real-time, relevant information on what is happening regarding vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 30, the state removed most COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, on June 29, King County’s mask directive ended as COVID-19 rates have decreased and 70% of people in the county are fully vaccinated.

Following these milestones, mask guidance will continue to follow the state health orderall unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people must continue to wear masks in indoor public places and crowded, outdoor public places when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Separate masking rules remain in effect for travelers and in certain venues such as schools and childcare, health care settings, all homeless service sites, correctional facilities, and public transportation, which all continue to require masks regardless of vaccination status.

Rights and Requirements For Your Business

Now that most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Washington state and King County, here are the critical things businesses need to know:

  • Any business retains the right to continue capacity and physical distancing restrictions.
  • Any business retains the right to request or require employees and/or customers to wear masks, but must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, as described in the state health order.
  • Fully vaccinated employees do not have to wear a mask or physically distance at work unless their employer still requires it. Employers are required to ensure unvaccinated and non-fully vaccinated employees wear a mask while working indoors, and must be able to show the process used to verify full vaccination status per the guidelines of Washington Labor & Industries. However, employers do not need to keep an actual copy of employees’ vaccination records.
  • Employers that have more than 50 employees must report COVID-19 outbreaks of 10 or more employees at workplaces or worksites to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries within 24 hours.
  • Businesses with indoor facilities can take steps to improve air ventilation and filtration.
  • Businesses can also protect employees and customers with vaccination efforts and clear masking guidelines.

Looking Ahead

People who are fully vaccinated are at low risk of COVID-19 illness and are unlikely to infect others. But many people are not able to be vaccinated at this time because of certain medical conditions or their age – including children under age 12.

We continue to depend on one another for community protection and to prevent COVID-19 spreading to those who cannot be vaccinated. Here’s what we can all do to create that protection:

  • Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others if you are able to get vaccinated. When more people are vaccinated, each community is better protected. Vaccination is free and available at many locations: kingcounty.gov/vaccine
  • Choose outside as a location for activities that involve people who are unvaccinated. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is much lower outside than inside.
  • Improve indoor air ventilation and filtration. The virus easily spreads indoors, especially in crowded spaces. Businesses and all organizations with indoor facilities should ensure good air ventilation and filtration. More information available at: Improving Indoor Air.
  • Support people’s decision to protect themselves if they choose to wear masks, physically distance, and avoid indoor gatherings.

Helpful Resources for Your Business

  • Reopening Flyer (English and in Additional Languages)
    • Available in: Amharic, Arabic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Marshallese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese
  • Reopening FAQ (English and in Additional Languages)
    • Available in: Amharic, Arabic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Dari, English, Farsi, Hindi, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Punjabi, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

Two Things to Read and Watch: