Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Jul 01, 2021

WASHINGTON: Governor Inslee announces reopening on June 30

COVID-19Safety and Health 

Governor Jay Inslee lifted many of the restrictions that applied to individuals and businesses in Washington during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, effective June 30, 2021. The remaining restrictions are posted on the governor’s webpage for COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers. With the exception of the changes discussed below, employers must continue to comply with the rest of the safety and reporting requirements that we previously reported. The new reopening guidance provides the following:

  • Capacity limitations: No restrictions for most industries with the exception of large indoor events (more than 10,000 simultaneous occupants in an indoor, enclosed space);
  • Physical distancing:  No requirements for anyone;
  • Facial coverings for non-employees: Not required for vaccinated individuals, unless required by individual business;
  • Facial coverings for employees: Required unless employer verifies the employee is fully vaccinated;
  • Health screenings before the shift: No longer required;
  • Vaccine verification/negative testing: Recommended but not required for large indoor and outdoor events only; and
  • Travelers: Continue to follow CDC recommendations.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) also published new guidance for employers that reflects the elimination of physical distancing requirements and includes previously issued guidance for verifying and approving employees who have been fully vaccinated to go without a face covering indoors. You may choose to continue to require physical distancing, but it is no longer required either indoors or outdoors. It is still your choice whether to allow fully vaccinated employees to go without a face covering (and employees can choose to wear a face covering, even if fully vaccinated). If you do allow this, you must be able to show the process used to verify employee vaccination status, although you aren’t required to maintain an actual copy of the employee’s vaccination records. Remember that individuals who haven’t been fully vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings when indoors.

Tips: Be sure to update your COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan and any related workplace policies to reflect any changes you make as a result of this reopening guidance, and be sure to communicate any changes to your employees. See our revised Model Policy, Washington Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan, and contact your Vigilant safety professional for assistance.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.