The list of companies in Tacoma and Pierce Counties requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter indoor areas is small but growing.
In early August, three restaurants – en Rama, The Mix, and Red Star Taco Bar, all in downtown Tacoma – announced that they would ask guests to provide physical or digital evidence of vaccinations for indoor dining. The tiki bar Devil’s Reef and sister restaurant Gilman House are now also asking for evidence on the door, a decision co-owner Jason Alexander said was necessary to ensure the health and safety of both its employees and guests – and business on Keep going.
“The past year and a half has been a struggle despite the tremendous generosity of the local community,” he said in a message this week. If an employee were to contract the virus, they would be forced to close for several days and that would be “financially devastating for me and my employees, especially if there is no more tax aid in sight”.
Despite an alarming rise in cases and deaths, with more than two dozen reported in the past week alone, according to the county, and hospitals sounding the alarm, elected officials in Pierce County have been reluctant to provide evidence of compulsory vaccination. Health officials, including Tacoma-Pierce County’s Department of Health Director Anthony Chen, say the breaking news has not yet moved the needle amid stagnant vaccination rates.
Meanwhile, King County is currently discussing a “Vaccine Verification Policy” with regional companies and organizations for what it defines as “non-essential indoor business activities.” If adopted, it would take effect five weeks after approval.
In the North Olympic Peninsula, Jefferson and Clallam Counties’ health officer Allison Berry announced that bars and restaurants are now required to screen all diners over the age of 12 for proof of vaccination to dine indoors.
“Our goal is to make these places safer and reduce transmission in our communities so that our hospitals can continue to function this fall and our schools can open more safely,” said Berry, who suggested The Peninsula Daily News after consulting with companies this approach is a return to capacity limits.
However, the 14-day case rate in Jefferson County is only a third of Pierce County’s, placing business owners in the South Sound in an even more precarious position.
Liz Hampton of Sweet Rice, a Lao and Thai restaurant with locations in Tacoma and Auburn, said they enforced the current masking rules – all diners must wear one when they’re not sitting and actively eating or drinking – but probably only would beforehand Returning to take away will require guests to provide proof of vaccination.
“We are definitely worried about the new Delta variant and are taking it day in and day out,” she said in a message.
TACOMA THEATER, EVENTS THAT REQUIRE VACCINATION PROOF
Along with a handful of restaurants, local performance and theater groups were among the first to introduce vaccination regulations in Tacoma, according to other venues in the area.
Tacoma Little Theater, Tacoma Arts Live, and Tacoma Musical Playhouse updated their vaccination guidelines in August, requiring viewers, artists, and staff to provide evidence that they are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, to be able to attend all public, indoor performances.
Alma Mater charges the same for indoor events, but not for its rooftop concerts or dining at its restaurant, The Patio, which is only served outdoors. There, the venue is asking guests to stay home if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 and that those who are not vaccinated wear a mask as per instructions from the state and the CDC.
The city’s largest venue, the Tacoma Dome, allows promoters and promoters to restrict entry to only those who have been vaccinated or who have recently tested negative, said marketing director Tammi Bryant.
“We’ve made a number of changes to the Tacoma Dome for the safety of fans, but we haven’t yet established a vaccination policy for all events,” she said, adding that it would be updated to reflect local and state guidelines if necessary.
From September 3rd, visitors to the Grand Cinema must also present a vaccination card. Only people with an illness or sincere religious belief can participate with only a negative test within 48 hours.
“Please know that the health and safety of our guests, staff and volunteers are our top priority,” said the Grand Cinema staff on their website. “Our community still has to be careful and prevent the COVID-19 virus and its variants from spreading further. Below are the procedures we will continue to use to protect our movie-loving community. “
At Pacific Lutheran University, the School of Arts and Communication requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test results within 72 hours of entering any arts event venue. This does not apply to persons under the age of 12.
The audience must wear a mask during PLU performances.
“Members of the PLU community (those with a PLU ID) are exempt from submitting additional vaccination status as their status has already been submitted and verified through PLU channels,” PLU said in a statement Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Washington’s professional through high school sports teams agreed to require similar vaccination records or a negative test to enter stadiums and arenas. The Seattle Seahawks do not accept refunds.
Here is an ongoing list of companies that require proof of vaccination to enter indoor spaces. In some cases, they’ll also accept a recent negative test.
▪ Auburn Symphony Orchestra
▪ The big cinema
▪ New Muses Theater Company (Dukesbay Theater)
▪ Northwest Sinfonietta
▪ Tacoma Arts Live
▪ Tacoma Little Theater
▪ Tacoma music playhouse
▪ The Washington Center for the Performing Arts
▪ de Rama
▪ The mixture
▪ Red Star Taco Bar
▪ Devil reef
▪ Gilman house
Editor’s Note: Are you or do you know of a company in South Sound that requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative test? Email us at [email protected] with details including a website link if available and contact information.