Governor Inslee has announced the economic reopening of Washington state effective today, June 30. As most businesses return to pre-pandemic capacity and operations, each nonprofit organization will need to make decisions about how to reopen and what if any restrictions to keep in place to ensure safety for employees, clients, and customers.
Reopening does not mean that employers no longer have responsibility for following state safety guidelines related to COVID-19. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has issued excellent updated summary guidance in its L&I Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19. Here are a few highlights that pertain to many nonprofits:
- Before lifting mask requirements in your workplace, you must use a process to verify that all employees are vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated employees working indoors are still required to wear masks.
- Employees have a right to continue to wear a mask by choice in most cases, and employers can choose to encourage or require mask wearing in their workplace.
- Mask requirements remain in place for certain nonprofit subsectors such as healthcare, childcare, schools and day camps, and homeless shelters.
We encourage you to learn more through L&I and your county health department. In addition, you may want to watch the recording of our June 23 Return to Work webinar.
It’s been fifteen months since the COVID-19 shutdown began. I’m grateful for the vaccine that is making it safer for us to gather in-person and work together. Let’s be mindful that not all adults can access the vaccine due to medical considerations, and that our children do not yet have access. Please continue to center the most vulnerable in our midst and ensure that their rights and safety are not compromised as we reopen.
I hope the lifting of some restrictions will support you as you work to achieve your mission.
Stay safe and be well.