Coinciding with Governor Inslee and King County Executive Constantine announcement to require vaccines for most state employees, health care providers, and county employees, Mayor Jenny A. announced City employees will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021. This decision has been made in response to rising COVID-19 rates nationwide as the highly-contagious Delta variant spreads through communities across the country, with the overwhelming majority of cases and hospitalizations being among the unvaccinated. This directive applies to all City workers in executive departments, regardless of whether or not they are reporting to the office, unless they have a sincerely held religious or medical exemption. Currently, all employees and visitors are required to wear masks for indoor public settings.
“From the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic to today, Governor Inslee, Executive Constantine and I believe in the importance of speaking as one government. So many small businesses have stepped up to require vaccines and as some of Washington’s largest employers, we are too. The spread of the Delta variant has required that we continue to make decisions that are safe for our employees, their families, and our community. There is no doubt that vaccines work, and that they are our best defense against the highly contagious Delta variant,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Seattle has led the way by listening to our public health officials- it’s why we have the lowest cases, hospitalizations and deaths of every major city. It is crucial that in our workplaces where we work, eat, have meetings, and laugh together, we make sure we are doing what we can to keep ourselves and our colleagues, our children and families, customers, and members of the public safe from serious illness, hospitalization, or death from this virus.”
Seattle is already leading the country on vaccination rates: over 82.5% of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. City and countywide data show that vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths even as the state has lifted most capacity restrictions at businesses. There has not been a reported death of a Seattle resident since July 11, and Seattle has averaged some of its lowest hospitalizations over the last four waves.
More than 60% of City employees have returned to their work sites with additional employees expected to continue to return as the City of Seattle safely reopens its public counters, community centers, and libraries in the coming weeks. For individuals who can continue to work remotely, the City of Seattle will allow employees to work on site or telework until at least mid-October.