Spokane venues prepare for new COVID crowd rules

SPOKANE, Wash. — Starting next month, all large events in Washington will require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before.

The official start date for the new requirement is Nov. 15. It will apply to all indoor events with a thousand or more people and all outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

It includes most events run by the Spokane Public Facilities District, which operates the Spokane Arena, the Podium, and the First Interstate Center for the Arts. While most events at these venues haven’t required it yet, it was the mandate for the Seattle Kraken game.

Even though showing a vaccine card is easy, Director of Entertainment Matt Meyer says they’re still working on how to verify negative tests, especially knowing tests aren’t easy to get.

“We’ve been looking down the path of the tests and getting those available, just knowing right now that the healthcare system is so inundated, we don’t want it to be a huge burden for them as well,” Meyer said.

The Knitting Factory is also working out some of the details.

“We will do just a general email blast to ticket holders, of shows that are going to be past the Nov. 15 date, letting them know what’s going on, what the process is going to be. And we will be offering refunds,” said Caleb Ingersoll, General Manager for the Spokane location.

The Spokane Symphony already had a policy in place long before it was announced by the Governor.

“There’s sort of a two-step entrance. Step 1: show your card, your vaccine card, or a picture of it on your phone, or your negative COVID test, and people pretty much are attuned to it now,” said Executive Director, Jeff vom Saal. “It is an inconvenience, yes, but what it is also doing is preserving everybody’s health and the well-being of the venue.”

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the new vaccine requirement at a press conference on Thursday.

PREVIOUS: Proof of vaccination to be required at all large events in Washington starting November 15

RELATED: Gov. Inslee blames COVID for health care worker shortage, not vaccine mandate