Washington state approves ‘vaccinated-only’ sections to increase sports and church capacity.

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Under COVID-19 restrictions, Washington state sports stadiums, entertainment venues, and churches will set up “vaccinated only” sections to expand capacity, according to Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday.

Inslee issued new guidance affecting sporting events, graduations, religious services and other activities even as many parts of the state appeared poised to re-enter stricter “Phase 2” restrictions due to a recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Pacific Northwest.

Most arenas’ capacities are capped at 25% under Phase 2 guidelines, but with Monday’s amendment, outdoor facilities such as sports stadiums are now able to add vaccinated parts until their total capacity is 50% or 22,000 spectators, whichever is lower.

Indoor venues, on the other hand, can seat up to 2,000 people, or 50 percent of their full capacity, by adding vaccinated sections, while religious and faith-based organisations with vaccinated-only sections can expand total facility capacities by 50 percent.

According to Inslee, the amendments will take place immediately.

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Attendees would need to submit either a vaccine card, a snapshot of a vaccination card, or other documents from a healthcare provider, such as an electronic health report or a state Immunization Information System record, to be seated in the new “vaccinated-only” parts.

 

The Washington State Department of Health is expected Tuesday to announce a list of counties headed back into Phase 2 — likely including King County, which encompasses the city of Seattle.

Health authorities believe they are struggling with a “fourth wave” of COVID-19 diseases, which is causing a major increase in hospitalisation rates. According to state hospital association leaders, the number of people injured in Washington had nearly doubled from late March to about 600 as of last week.

The Los Angeles Dodgers revealed last week that they would have “fully-vaccinated only” parts for each game during a nine-game homestand against the Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, and Arizona Diamondbacks later this month.

The Dodgers announced a 20% discount on equally placed tickets “to further encourage Angelenos to become vaccinated.”

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