OLYMPIA – Washington Hospitality Association President & CEO Anthony Anton had this statement today on the absence of hospitality workers in Gov. Inslee’s next phase of vaccination eligibility:

“Hospitality workers have served the community throughout the pandemic as ‘essential workers’ – and have done so extraordinarily safely.

“The Washington Hospitality Association has advocated for our team members to be included in the first round of ‘essential workers’ at the federal, state, and local levels since the phases were first under consideration. When the phases were first announced, we reached out to elected officials with our surprise hospitality workers were not being included in the ‘essential workers’ phase after health care workers.

“We are disappointed they are once again being left out and in fact being pushed further back in line as the first and second phases have expanded to include others. We aren’t asking to jump ahead of high-risk and first responders, we are asking to be included with other essential food chain and housing workers.

“The state’s vaccination program has a glaring hole without hospitality workers – 40 percent of whom are Black, Indigenous and people of color – included in the next phase.”