The CEO podcast is a monthly podcast with Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton. This is a summary of the October edition where Anthony sat down with the government affairs team. You can watch the full episode on our YouTube channel. If you have questions for the next episode, email email@example.com.
Anthony started by going around the horn with four things the association is doing to help the industry.
- Anthony has been meeting with representatives from WorkSource regularly. A main goal is to help our workforce succeed by creating career ladders so businesses can recruit more effectively.
- The communications team has been working to educate members on the plastic bag ban which took effect recently. There is a toolkit and a webinar that members with questions can access.
- On the business development side of things, the association’s partnership with U.S. Bank to provide exclusive, negotiated pricing has been saving members an average of $3,400.
- Government affairs has been engaging in conversations with leaders who could be considering vaccine requirements, which brings us to our main topic.
Vaccine requirements: where we are
John Lane, director of local government affairs, gives an update on local vaccine mandates.
- Vaccine mandates for guests have been implemented in New York, San Francisco and other major cities. The team was able to work with the National Restaurant Association to better understand how those programs were implemented in those areas.
- King County will begin requiring vaccinations for indoor activities and large outdoor events on Oct. 25 for people ages 12 and older.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours will also be allowed for those who do not show proof of vaccination.
- One of the main messages from government affairs to county officials was that the mandate needs to apply to a broader community – not just hospitality.
- Worker safety is also a concern. Our industry’s staff are the ones interacting with the public and explaining these policies, so a long runway (five weeks) to educate the public was important.
- The requirement does not take effect until Dec. 6 for restaurants with 12 seats or fewer.
Julia Gorton, director of state government affairs, gave an update on other potential mandates.
- The federal vaccine requirements that President Joe Biden announced will require employers with 100 employees or more to make vaccinations or regular testing a condition of employment.
- Washington state is focused on increasing vaccinations over mitigation efforts like testing, and could expand the federal mandate.
- The guest check mandates in Jefferson, Clallam and King County are set to expire or come under review, but the vaccine requirements currently in place for state employees and healthcare workers are permanent.
- Operators can start planning now for these requirements. The Washington Hospitality Association’s advisory network has employment law attorneys that can help you develop a plan.