Vax mandate for state agencies and contractors ended Oct. 31 – After more than two years of emergency proclamations related to COVID-19 being in place, Gov. Jay Inslee rescinded all remaining orders effective Oct. 31.
Included in the list of remaining emergency proclamations is the underlying order declaring the state of emergency in Washington, which will also be rescinded on Oct. 31, effectively ending the state of emergency.
Another notable proclamation among those being rescinded is 21-14 regarding vaccines, which requires state workers – including workers for contractors on state projects – staff at educational facilities, and healthcare employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, employers may still voluntarily choose to keep the requirement in place. No state agencies that hire contractors – including WSDOT, DES and schools – are keeping the requirement in place. AGC is in conversations with other major project owners about their remaining requirements, such as Port of Seattle, City of Seattle and others.
“I’m confident now that we have reached a significant milestone in the Covid effort,” Inslee said at a news conference at the Capitol. “We are now in a position to be able to continue our efforts against Covid in multiple ways without the necessity of an emergency order.”
House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said that while he was glad to see the governor’s announcement,”it should have happened a long time ago. What I hope can happen now is, can the Legislature look at emergency-powers reform in a less politicized way and proceed in a way that will strengthen the legislative branch in future emergencies,” he said.
In addition, the governor will keep the COVID-19 vaccine requirements in place for workers at most Washington state agencies. A separate order by the state Department of Health requiring face coverings for health care and long-term care facilities will remain in place beyond the end of the state of emergency.